NEWARK - The Newark Museum is hosting one of the largest exhibits ever of the work of beloved American artist Norman Rockwell.

Every illustration that Norman Rockwell created for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post beginning in 1916 is included. There are 323 works that fill a giant gallery.

"He told a story so that someone looking at it knew what it was instantly," says curator Ulysses Dietz.

Rockwell often depicted a happiness in his art that was missing in his own life, according to Dietz.

"He just basically had trouble connecting emotionally with anybody," Dietz says. "And that was based on his own insecurities about himself and about his anxieties."

The Newark Museum is hosting this exhibit, mostly of artwork on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts. It's a rare chance to see so much of Rockwell's work in New Jersey.

The display includes several galleries of paintings.  Rockwell was often criticized by the art world for painting simple themes, but experts say the the more you know, the more complex the pictures become.

Rockwell painted presidents, but it was his drawings of common people and their hopes and dreams that is his legacy.