We’ve seen the work of the great American magazine illustrator Leyendecker here and here, so it’s appropriate we feature another great American illustrator, the one and only Norman Rockwell, on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, on 15 December 1945, after the end of World War Two.
Like most of Rockwell’s art, it tells a story, and is worth a read. The aviation content isn’t immediately obvious, but comes together on a closer look. I’ll just add that he’s evidently an airman from the United States Army Air Corps, with a model Martin B-26 Marauder and a picture of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress on the wall. His kitbag features the patch of the Army Air Forces.
Thanks to this blogpost, from the Saturday Evening Post website, which also features a reproduction of the original artwork shown below, we are told:
“For his model, he used a real pilot, Lt. Arthur H. Becktoft Jr., who’d flown with the 349th Bomber Squadron. In October 1943, while piloting his B-17 “War Eagle” on a raid over Hamburg, Germany, he was shot down. Becktoft and his crew parachuted and were soon captured. They spent the next 20 months in a German POW camp. For this cover, Becktoft had reason to smile.”
James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.