Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. At age 14, Rockwell enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art before studying at The National Academy of Design. Rockwell found success early. He painted his first commission of four Christmas cards before his sixteenth birthday. In 1916, the 22-year-old Rockwell painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine considered by Rockwell to be the 'greatest show window in America'.The 1930s and 1940s are generally considered to be the most fruitful decades of Rockwell's career. In 1943, inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's address to Congress, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms paintings. They were reproduced in four consecutive issues of The Saturday Evening Post with essays by contemporary writers. Rockwell's interpretations of Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear proved to be enormously popular.
In collaboration with his son Thomas, Rockwell published his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, in 1960. The Saturday Evening Post carried excerpts from the best-selling book in eight consecutive issues, with Rockwell's Triple Self-Portrait on the cover of the first.
In 1973, Rockwell established a trust to preserve his artistic legacy, later to become the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge M.A. In 1977, he received the nation's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal. He died in 1978.