Hallmark has a remarkable legacy of collaboration with some of the world's most renowned artists and designers. Perhaps none of these is more beloved than the American illustrator Norman Rockwell, whom Hallmark founder J.C. Hall commissioned to produce 32 paintings for the company's greeting cards between 1948 to 1957, at the height of his career.
The most influential and prolific illustrator of the 20th century, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) produced art for more than 150 companies throughout his lifetime, including magazine covers for The Saturday Evening Post and annual calendars for the Boy Scouts of America. However, among his most enduring images are his Christmas paintings for Hallmark Cards. Reproduced often and in many contexts, they helped define the spirit and traditions of the holiday season for many Americans. The heartwarming and humorous images have also come to exemplify Rockwell's unique brand of pictorial storytelling.
Norman Rockwell , Filling The Stockings, 1955 watercolor, ink and pencil on paper, 13 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, Missouri / © Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Norman Rockwell, Boy With Head In Wreath, 1957 oil on hardboard, 8 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, Missouri / © Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Norman Rockwell, Santa’s Surprise, 1949 watercolor and ink on paper board, 12 3/4 x 10 7/8 inches Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, Missouri / © Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Norman Rockwell, A Christmas Prayer, 1949 watercolor and ink on paper, 12 x 10 1/2 inches Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, Missouri/ © Hallmark Cards, Inc.
About the exhibition
Hallmark founder J.C. Hall commissioned Rockwell to paint 32 Christmas designs, beginning with images for the 1948 Hallmark Gallery Artists Collection. Over the ensuing decade, Rockwell interpreted the yuletide theme in a variety of guises, ranging from the characters of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to the exploits of the modern American family. Reproduced in many contexts over the years, these heartwarming and humorous images have come to epitomize Rockwell’s masterful brand of narrative art.
Norman Rockwell’s Christmas is the most comprehensive exhibition ever assembled of Rockwell’s original art for Hallmark Cards. All works are from the Hallmark Art Collection with historic photographs and ephemera courtesy of the Hallmark Archives in Kansas City, Missouri and Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
The exhibit is on display through January 27, 2018 at the Hallmark Art Collection Gallery in Hallmark Visitor's Center, located in Kansas City's Crown Center district. Admission is free.
Norman Rockwell's Christmas: Original Artwork for Hallmark
October 7, 2017 - January 27, 2018
Hallmark Art Collection Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri