Tuesday, February 10

americana -george hughes

Though lesser known than some other Saturday Evening Post illustrators, between 1948 and 1962 George Hughes produced 115 Post covers. His illustrations helped define the American self-image, wholesome and rooted, yet up-to-date and upwardly mobile.

Hughes' first Post cover appeared in April 1948. A small boy, grimy head to toe, nonchalantly arriving home to the distress of his mother who is busy hanging out freshly, washed clothes. The cover struck a chord among parents.

Hughes would move his family from NYC to Arlington, Vermont, where among his neighbors were three other prominent Post illustrators: Norman Rockwell, Mead Schaeffer, and Jack Atherton.

"Rockwell and Hughes became good friends, often sharing the same Arlington models, although their tastes in subject matter differed. Hughes would take the authentic rural characters that Rockwell preferred, dress them up, and construct a more sophisticated situation around them. Although the two often asked each other's, advice on their works in progress, Hughes suspected Rockwell of soliciting his advice only to take the opposite course, so as not to get too modem. One evening at a party, Rockwell lamented about a painting that he had been working on all week, only to get so frustrated with it that he had thrown it out of his studio into the winter snow. It depicted a proper elderly woman and a child saying grace before eating in a railroad diner while being watched by several rough-looking types. Hughes agreed with Rockwell that the idea didn't sound workable. With that confirmation, Rockwell retrieved the painting and completed it. "Saying Grace" became one of Rockwell's most compelling and endearing covers."
Pettinga, Steve (1992). Hughes' Views The Saturday Evening Post,264, 54-57

All well and good. This is a preamble to the below. Pops lives in Hughes' old home (a later home, not Arlington but Peru VT). There are several pieces painted in the house, now just the crumbling paint of outdoor scenes. Below is the back of the sink (prob not the best preservation area admittedly...).

[update: below, Hughes cover with the Peru church in the background.]