In the spring of 2004, Mrs. Evelyn F. Hitchcock generously donated Norman Rockwell's rare 1921 oil painting Artists Costume Ball to the Norman Rockwell Museum. The gift was made in memory of her late husband Ethan Wolcott Hitchcock, who received the Norman Rockwell original from his father, artist Lucius Wolcott Hitchcock, a friend of Rockwell and fellow member of the New Rochelle (N.Y.) Art Association.
After World War I, the New Rochelle Art Association held three annual costume balls to raise funds for a war memorial. Rockwell, then living in New Rochelle, painted this poster design in 1921 to advertise the last ball. Since he was a member of the association, it is likely he volunteered his time and talents for this poster. In her brief history of the Association, Ann Maloney Lyons said, "�These galas were immensely popular and successful. Dancing lasted til 4 am.�" Artists'� posters, such as this one, were auctioned off at the end of the evening, adding to the fun and raising additional funds.
To honor those who served in World War I, Edmond Quinn, known for his statue of Edwin Booth as Hamlet in New York�s Gramercy Park, created the bronze statue of �"Victory."� Based on a design by Frederick Dana Marsh (father of social realist painter Reginald Marsh), "�Victory"� was posed for by 25-year-old socialite Angelique Hart. The statue was installed in New Rochelle�s Faneuil Park in May 1921 with the inscription �"To the men of New Rochelle who served in the Great War for the rights of humanity, 1914-1918.�"
This lively, decorative painting adds to our understanding of the social and community life of 1920s New York and documents Rockwell�s link with the artists of New Rochelle. Artists Costume Ball marks a step in the career of a bright, ambitious illustrator, who found his milieu and established his place in a great artistic legacy.