Norman Rockwell’s The Bookworm Redux

There’s a special gallery two doors away from my office in the Grohmann Museum that houses a collection of paintings by 19th-century German painter, Carl Spitzweg.

The Bookworm, by Carl Spitzweg, 1850. (Image from The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Online:

On the wall outside that gallery is a painting by American painter Norman Rockwell, The Bookworm, which pays tribute to the similarly-titled painting by Spitzweg.

Norman Rockwell's The Bookworm, 1926

Norman Rockwell’s The Bookworm, 1926

You can read a really nice analysis of the two paintings online at the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, housed in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Apparently Spitzweg was sort of the Norman Rockwell of 19th-century Germany. Here’s the link:

So, anyway, today I noticed a brand new addition on a shelf to the right of the Rockwell painting.


This little Danbury Mint figurine replica of the painting.

"The Bookworm," Danbury Mint replica figurine

“The Bookworm,” Danbury Mint replica figurine

Too adorable! It reproduces every detail, right down to the basket at his feet with the note from the painting: “Don’t forget matches and cheese.”

"Don't forget matches and cheese" Norman Rockwell's The Bookworm

An errand I fear our “Bookworm” will not complete, given his apparent propensity to be lured away from practical realities via the enchantment of a good book! 🙂

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in Art, Books and reading, History, Milwaukee and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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