In The 1950’s, Opticals Were Like A Normal Rockwell Painting

Normal Rockwell - Boy At The Optician's Office

Have you ever been at a family function, and everything goes wrong? Perhaps the food is not much better than what is available at a soup kitchen, or the hostess has 15 cats and the home smells like a zoo, or maybe your uncle really hates your sister’s husband and can’t stop throwing digs his way, making the whole party very uncomfortable? Sadly, this is quite often the reality of families, and most likely, always has been. However, there also has always been that picture perfect, idealized experience that is no better captured in the history of art than by Norman Rockwell.

Notable for oh-so-many works, in this particular case, Rockwell takes a stab at an adolescent getting his first pair of frames. Notice the facial expressions on each – the boy, clearly an athletic type, apprehensive with his noise out of joint, and the “optometrist” or “eye doctor” (or perhaps optician, which based on the picture’s environment, is more likely), seems very used to this type of scenario. He is smiling in an attempt to make the boy feel more at ease, while also most likely taking pride in his noble work of bestowing sight upon those of all ages without it. The hues and tones, as well as colours, like most of Rockwell’s work, add a warm depth to this depiction of a natural right of passage for anyone who wears prescription glasses.

We love art and we love eyewear, and we especially love art that features eyewear, even more if it’s from a period we really enjoy, such as the 1950’s when this painting was commissioned by the Saturday Evening Post (1956). If you have other examples that you think we may not be aware of, please send them our way!