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There's nothing wrong with illustration. But it doesn't often rise to the level of fine art. Norman Rockwell was different. He was one of Art's greats. His best paintings transcended mere illustration. They are fine art masterpieces. He understood the difference between illustration and fine art. But he had to earn a living and so he had to illustrate for advertisements. He did that better than anyone. But as he painted he knew he was doing something finer than just ads for magazines and billboards. And that's why he's now in the great art museums where you won't see run of the mill illustrators. He is one of the few illustrators who rose above mere commerce and advertising to become a fine artist. And, contrary to what @KingstonFineArt says, not all realism is illustrative. And few illustrations qualify as fine art. And that's why so few illustrators are represented in the great art museums. They don't paint for art's sake but for commerce, to get people to buy stuff, and that's why illustration will always be a rung below fine art which has higher aims. When I look at a great painting I am moved to aesthetic wonder. When I look at an ad for soda ..., well, I might by a soda. But it won't expand my appreciation of the visual world the way a great painting can. Rockwell's paintings rise above the humdrum, not to say grubby, world of commerce.