Hang a little nostalgia on your wall this holiday season with this collection of free vintage Christmas magazine cover printables!
Could there be a Saturday Evening Post without Norman Rockwell? Well, look, obviously there could be – and there was! The Saturday Evening Post launched 73 years before he was born! But would it have become what it did were he not there to paint so many brilliant covers?
I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. The Saturday Evening Post was obviously more than just a pretty cover, but its glory years dovetail suspiciously with Rockwell’s contributions.
For many Americans, Normal Rockwell is the essence of Americana, though in his day (and even after) he was dismissed by his contemporaries and by his critics as painting a vision of America that was too quaint, too kitsch. They complained that the life he portrayed in his paintings didn’t exist in the real world. They bitched that his talent was wasted on illustrations. And in fact, that is what they called him: an illustrator. They would say it with a sneer of the lips, as if the word itself were dirty, unclean and unfit to speak.
But unflappable Rockwell, a once-unknown 22-year-old struggling to make it as an artist in New York City until his discovery in 1916 by the Post’s editor, would simply agree with them. No one called him an artist, and that suited him just fine. Never one for fancy titles, he referred to himself as an illustrator his entire career.
They invented a name to discredit his work and those who dared mimic his style: “Rockwellesque.” It carried the meaning that anything overly quaint, anything that tried to evoke a simpler time couldn’t be taken seriously and deserved ridicule and derision instead of honest appraisal and consideration.
But who among us now doesn’t know the name “Norman Rockwell?” I wonder if anyone remembers the names of those who held his work in such low regard?
There’s an old saying I’ve never been comfortable with, because though there may be isolated cases where it’s true, overwhelmingly, it misses the mark. The saying is, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” As I said, I think it is way off base, but there is a way to make it work: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, critique.”
All those critics who poo-pooed his work – I wonder what they would have thought (had they lived long enough to see it) when one of his later works was selected by the President of The United States to be hung outside the Oval Office in the White House.
I know Norman would have been proud, but he probably wouldn’t want a fuss made over it.
So I’ll take his Americana.
I’ll take his kitsch.
And I’ll take that quaint memory of simpler times.
But would Norman Rockwell have become who he became were it not for another Saturday Evening Post painter featured in this collection? Before Rockwell there was J.C. Leyendecker, the single biggest influence on Rockwell’s style. Looking at the Leyendecker covers in this collection, it’s easy to see the influence he had on Norman Rockwell. The two were friends, and though Rockwell’s star continued to rise through the decades, Leyendecker’s most productive years were pre-Depression.
There is one more artist featured here – Eugene Avery. He painted a few covers for The Saturday Evening Post, but information about the painter is scarce, so we must appreciate the work without knowledge of the man.
The Christmas season is starting to heat up around here (and because we’re in Florida, I do mean that figuratively and literally). We’ve got lots in store for you guys – both crafts and printables, and we can’t wait to get cracking!
Free Vintage Christmas Magazine Cover Printables
We designed these 11 free vintage Christmas magazine cover printables in two sizes: 11×14 inch, and 16×20 inch JPGs. As all our JPG files are high resolution, you can scale them up or down as necessary. 16×20 inch scales down to 12×15 / 8×10 / 4×5 inches with no problems. If you need help with scaling down these printables so you can print them on your home printer, then make sure you check out Handan’s “How To Easily Resize Pictures” post.
Note: If you don’t have a large format printer like the Canon i8720 Printer (prints up to 13×19 inches) and are wondering the best place to get these large printables printed bigger than 8×12, we recommend trying Staples in your area or Amazon print shop. Both stores offer custom-sized prints on matte or glossy paper, and they both cost about the same. Staples also offers Engineering Prints, which are really affordable for large-format prints, but in some areas (like ours), they must be ordered from their online print shop.
Now it’s time to click on the button below to download today’s free vintage Christmas magazine cover printables – you’ll find them under the “Christmas” section of The VIP Patch.
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Hey, if you like Christmas as much as we do, don’t miss our other Christmas printables collections!