Soldier on Leave
22 x 20 in. (55.9 x 50.8 cm)
(New York, NY, 1894 - 1978, Stockbridge, MA)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert M. Boynton
Location: Currently on view
During World War II, Norman Rockwell painted positive and uplifting scenes of the American homefront. Rockwell, America’s most popular illustrator, created "Soldier on Leave" for the [August 12, 1944] cover of the widely-read magazine, 'The Saturday Evening Post.'
[Gallery label text, 2007]
Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers have shaped much of the American public’s imagination about what is American about America. This painting appeared on the magazine’s cover on August 12, 1944, in the midst of World War II. Allied Forces had landed on the beaches of France on D-Day, June 6, two months prior to the magazine’s publication date, and there was reason to believe that the war would not go on much longer.
In the meantime, soldiers were continuing to be drafted and wartime romances were intensified by the threat of separation. The scene in Soldier on Leave was a common story: young lovers take what comfort they can from each other in spite of their lack of privacy, knowing their time together is brief.
Rockwell frequently used Vermont neighbors as models for his paintings. This painting is no exception, and to complete the realistic setting, he posed his models in an actual train that was loaned to him by the Rutland Railroad.
[Gallery label text, 2004]