Poet and former editor Haggerty dives deep into the work of Norman Rockwell in this illuminating survey, his debut. Uncovering “the backstories of the friends and neighbors who posed for Rockwell in the quaint, rural village of West Arlington, Vermont,” Haggerty, who spent summers in West Arlington from the age of three, uses his familiarity with the town and its locals to limn the lives of “the dairy farmers, carpenters, country doctors, soldiers, mechanics, and spirited children” who modeled as the subjects of some of Rockwell’s greatest hits. Among them are Carl Hess, the owner of the gas station Rockwell frequented, who posed in 1943 for Freedom of Speech; Ruthie McLenithan, who modeled as a girl playing marbles in Marbles Champion; and Rockwell’s housekeeper Marie Briggs, who was depicted in We the Peoples, a work currently displayed in the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Haggerty explores the dynamic exchange between artist and sitter and sheds light on the mechanics that created Rockwell’s sentimental, romanticized work (attuned to fine details, Rockwell dictated every aspect of the scenes he painted, sometimes by “coaxing exact expressions from his carefully selected models”). This peek into the workshop of an icon of Americana will delight Rockwell’s fans. (Feb.)