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Norman Rockwell's Boy Scouts of America

Rockwell and Csatari

Boy Scout Calendar Artists


Norman Rockwell

One day in the fall of 1912, a talented 18-year-old art student named Norman Rockwell walked into the offices of Boy's Life looking for work. When he left, he had his first commission to do a magazine illustration and had begun a relationship with the Boy Scouts of America that would last for more than 60 years. Rockwell became the visual spokesman for Scouting, bringing its spirit and ideals to life through hundreds of now-classic paintings.

When the gangly Rockwell tried to join the Navy to fight in World War I, in 1917, he was at first rejected for being 17 pounds underweight. He later made it in with the help of a Navy doctor who waived a rule for him, but then found himself doing "morale" work at a base in Charleston, S.C., preparing art for the camp newspaper and painting and sketching officers and sailors. He was given a special early discharge from the navy after painting a portrait of his commanding officer. Throughout his life, he remained deeply patriotic, and he frequently used heroic symbols, especially the American flag, to communicate patriotic values to Boy Scouts.

Every year but two from 1925 through 1976, Norman Rockwell did a painting for the annual Boy Scout calendar published by Brown & Bigelow. Each painting presented an image of idealized Scouts in worthy action, and always with meticulously accurate uniforms and equipment. By 1929, the Boy Scout calendar was the most popular in America, and it remained so for many years.

Asked if he might ever run out of subjects for his paintings, Rockwell once said, "The Boy Scouts are simply going to have to devise some new deeds or Brown & Bigelow will be in a stew." Yet the artist always found fresh ways to evoke the virtues of Scouting. In 1939, when he had been painting Scouts for more than 25 years, Rockwell was honored with the highest award given by the Boy Scouts of America, the Silver Buffalo, presented before an audience of 3,000 people at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

In the sixties, Rockwell's focus broadened to include many more minority and foreign Scouts. His calendar paintings for the world jamboree years of 1963 and 1967 both depicted Scouts of various nations joyously united.

"The common places of America are to me the richest subjects in art," he once said. "Boys batting flies on vacant lots; girls playing jacks on front steps; old men plodding home at twilight; all these arouse feelings in me."

Rockwell's illustrations almost defined America in the middle part of the 20th century; they certainly helped define Scouting. His career spanned nearly the whole history of the Boy Scouts to date, encompassing an age during which both America and the Boy Scouts grew immensely, a period, as Rockwell wrote, "when America believed in itself. I was happy to be painting it." The artist died in 1978 at the age of 84. [reference: The Boy Scouts, Robert Peterson] [return to top]

The following are Norman Rockwell's calendar paintings:

1925 A Good Scout  Scout bandaging puppies foot with mother dog watching.
1963 A Good Sign All Over The World  International Scouts dance to bagpipe in front of globe.
1926 A Good Turn  Scout reading to old sailor with puppy.
1965 A Great Moment  Mother pins Eagle on Scout with father and Scoutmaster.
1946 A Guiding Hand  Boy Scout teaches Cub Scout on box to tie a knot.
1943 A Scout is Friendly  Scout in patrol 7 helps elderly couple with small boy.
1941 A Scout Is Helpful  Scout carrying girl wrapped in quilt in flood.
1942 A Scout Is Loyal  Scout with hat in front of Bill of Rights, presidents & Eagle.
1932 A Scout is Loyal  George Washington points way for Scout in front of clouds.
1954 A Scout Is Reverent  Explorer and Scout sitting in pew in front of Cub Scout.
1940 A Scout Is Reverent  Scout kneels in church pew next to elderly man.
1947 All Together  Scout with pack pulling another Scout with dog up onto rock.
1938 America Builds for Tomorrow  Scout shows 2 Cubs & Den Mother how to build bird house.
1971 America's Manpower Begins With Boypower  2 Cubs hold Scout emblem in front of Scouts and leaders.
1933 An Army of Friendship  Smiling international Scouts in campaign hats salute.
1969 Beyond The Easel  Rockwell painting with Scouts watching.
1967 Breakthrough For Freedom  International Scouts link arms in front of flags.
1972 Can't Wait  Small boy saluting in large uniform with Cub uniform on chair.
1934 Carry On  Outdoorsman points way for hiking Senior Scout with dog.
1970 Come And Get It  Scout tastes cooking near Scouts & leader along lake at Camp.
1960 Ever Onward [50th anniversary]  1910 Scout and 1960 Cub and Scout hold scroll of Scout oath.
1951 Forward America  Explorer, Cub, Scout, Air Scout, and Sea Scout in profile.
1949 Friend in Need  Cub Scout holds dog as Scout bandages paw near tree.
1973 From Concord To Tranquility  Scouts and astronaut salute in front of flag.
1927 Good Friends [A Scout is Kind]  Scout feeding puppies with mother dog watching.
1935 Good Scout [or A Good Scout]  Scout with campaign hat feeds dog in wood pen.
1966 Growth of a Leader  Cub, Scout, Explorer and Scoutmaster profile in front of flag.
1957 High Adventure  Explorers with packs in front of Tooth of Time at Philmont.
1961 Homecoming  Scout with pack and duffel is checked by father, family & dog.
1945 I Will Do My Best  Scout pledges in front of wall with oath inscribed.
1948 Men of Tomorrow  Cub Scout watches as Scouts portage canoe.
1958 Mighty Proud  Older brother on knees with family straighten uniform on Scout.
1953 On My Honor  Explorer and Scout pledge with Cub Scout in front of oath.
1950 Our Heritage  Scout & Cub Scout with book in front of Washington praying.
1962 Pointing The Way  Scoutmaster points way to 3 Scouts as 4th approaches.
1931 Scout Memories  Dan Beard in Daniel Boone outfit telling story to seated Scout.
1937 Scout of Many Trails  Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor.
1968 Scouting Is Outing  Scout pour out of building and go down street with dog.
1975 So Much Concern  Scouts in red berets with crutch planting trees.
1929 Spirit of America  Scout profile with campaign hat & red neckerchief & US heros.
1952 The Adventure Trail  First class Scout shows 2 Cub Scouts arrowhead near tree.
1936 The Campfire Story  Leader shows 2 Scouts & dog Indian headdress.
1955 The Right Way  Star Scout shows two Cub Scouts how to build bird house.
1939 The Scouting Trail  Cub, Scout, Sea Scout, historic mural and Scouting Trail scroll.
1956 The Scoutmaster  Scoutmaster tends fire as Scouts sleep in their tents under stars.
1976 The Spirit of 1976  Cub, Explorers, Scout and leader with drums, fife and flag.
1964 To Keep Myself Physically Strong  Cub standing on chair measuring brothers chest size with dog.
1959 Tomorrow's Leader  Scout holds compass in front of Scout emblem & merit badges
1974 We Thank Thee, O' Lord  Scouts seated under dining fly pray as cook watches.
1944 We, Too, Have A Job To Do  First Class Scout in campaign hand salutes in front of flag.

Some other well known Rockwell paintings are:

 September 1913 Boys' Life Cover  Scout at ships wheel.
 December 1913 Boys' Life Cover  2 Scouts helping Santa Claus get up from snow.
 Boy Scout "War Service" poster.  "Boost Boy Scout Week, June 8th to 14th" & smiling Scout.
June 1914 Boy's Life cover Daniel Boone
May 1915 Boy's Life cover "Don" a boy sitting holding a book.
 August 1915 Boy's Life cover  Boy diving into water, only trunks and legs show with splash.
 1917 Saturday Evening Post Cover  "Ready to Serve", Scout with Civil War Vet and young lady just after start of WW I.
 1918 Red Cross Magazine illustration  Scoutmaster leading Scout campfire.
 The Daily Good Turn  The "Unknow Scout" with William D. Boyce on street in city.
 July 1919 Boy's Life cover  Scout with campaign hat
1935 Jamboree Poster Scout with stave in front of Capitol promoting Jamboree
 July 1935 Boy's Life cover Scout with stave in front of Capitol promoting Jamboree.
 1960 Handbook Cover [50th anniversary]  Scout waves while hiking with handbook in hand.

Joseph Csatari

Joseph Csatari joined the staff of the BSA National Council in 1953 as a layout artist in the Supply Division's advertising department. By 1960's, he was art director, designing advertising and sales promotional pieces, cover illustrations, and posters.

In 1973, he was named art director of Boys' Life magazine. Also, during this time he had begun working closely with Norman Rockwell as the famed illustrator created his annual Boy Scout calendar painting.

Csatari's job was to come up with possible themes for the paintings and make rough sketches for Rockwell. Once Rockwell decided on a concept, Csatari would gather models and shuttle them up for a photo shoot in the artist's studio in Stockbridge, Mass.

During the time Rockwell was working on his last two BSA paintings, Csatari often traveled to Stockbridge to assist the aging artist.

"He'd let me paint the boots or some other minor part of the painting," Csatari says. "That was the thrill of my life-even though I know he went back over what I had done."

In 1976 when Rockwell retired from the calendar commission, the BSA asked Csatari to continue in the Rockwell tradition.

"My work may be reminiscent of the Rockwell style," Csatari says, "but I'm no Rockwell. Norman was in another league. He was a great storyteller and humorist, a kind of pictorial Mark Twain."

Since the 1977 BSA calendar, Csatari has made 24 paintings for the Boy Scouts of America, including a painting commemorating the endowment program's 1910 Society. In 1997 an exhibit of these paintings toured the United States at fund-raising events in local councils throughout the country.

Though it's not well known, Csatari also painted more than 10 official portraits of BSA presidents and Chief Scout Executives during his career. But it's his paintings of "Boy Scouts being Boy Scouts, having fun in the outdoors, and doing community service projects" that he finds most rewarding. [reference: Scouting, 9/97]

Joseph Csatari's Scouting paintings include:[return to top]


Links And More

Boy Scouts of America web pages

Joseph Csatari's web site

National Scouting Museum

Norman Rockwell

Joseph Csatari

New York Times: Museum of American Hungarian Foundation

Norman Rockwell Museum

The Curtis Center
601 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922 4345
The home museum for the Saturday Evening Post contains many original Rockwell Paintings.

Norman Rockwell Scouting Paintings

Norman Rockwell Boy Scout Paintings

Sentinel: Artist Has Brush With Fame


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