Originally created for the August 13, 1927 edition of the Saturday Evening Post, Atelier Ettinger hand-proofed and printed Dreams of Long Ago in 1976. The lithograph, measuring 32 by 24 inches, consists of 320 impressions on papier d'Arches. 200 of these impressions were numbered and 60 artist proofs were signed in pencil by Norman Rockwell. An additional 35 impressions were pencil signed and designated with Roman numerals, and 25 delux edition signed artist proofs were printed on Inomachi Nacre (Japan) paper.
This cover depicts an aging cowboy surrounded by relics of the past, indicative of the shifting tides of popular culture in America at the time. Victoria Crenson, in Norman Rockwell's Portrait of America writes, "It certainly wasn't hard to understand why rural America found country western music appealing. But perhaps urban America enjoyed it because the independence and freedom of life on the range afforded a nostalgic look at a young country before big city problems; when nature, rather than the stock market, determined the conditions of survival." The model for this Saturday Evening Post cover, James K. Van Brunt, was used extensively by Norman Rockwell, so much so that the Post editors started to complain about it. Van Brunt modeled for ten Post covers as well as countless other paintings used for advertisements. On this cover, he poses in front of a phonograph with an RCA record titled, 'Dreams of Long Ago.' This record was recorded by Enrico Caruso, an Italian tenor whom Rockwell had met during his work at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1912. The lyrics include: "shadows are falling and I sit alone/My heart recalling Memories when you were my own." Van Brunt's pose and expression in this piece suggest a wistful nostalgia for a time passed.
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