Norman Rockwell’s painting, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, first appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1951. This masterpiece showcases the artist’s unique vision of American life and is considered a technical tour-de-force. The painting has been donated to Berkshire and will be featured at both the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and the Norman Rockwell Museum beginning June 9.
Shuffleton’s Barbershop offers a meditation on race during late 1940s and early 1950s America. The structuring presence of race is made evident, given that all patrons in the barbershop are white and all staff are black. The painting portrays an image familiar to many rural towns in America with its Main Street location and everyday interaction, surrealistically captured by Rockwell.
The Barber Pole outside shows it being lit up as well which represents how important this establishment was to their community both socially but more importantly economically. All these factors come together making Shuffleton’s Barbershop one of Norman Rockwell’s most famous paintings; offering insight into his unique style while capturing a poignant moment in American history.