A new record dollar amount for an American painting was realized on December 4, 2013. The gavel came down at $46 million dollars during Sotheby’s American Art auction in New York for Norman Rockwell’s “Saying Grace.” The price does include a buyer’s premium, and the painting was completed in 1951. The previous record for a Rockwell painting was reported by the AP to be $15 million for “Breaking Home Ties”, which was sold at auction in 2006.
The Norman Rockwell Painting “Saying Grace”
10 Notes about Rockwell’s “Saying Grace” Painting
- “Saying Grace” was on the Thanksgiving cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1951.
- This painting was based on an idea from a reader who had seen a Mennonite family praying in a restaurant.
- “Saying Grace” was from the collection of Kenneth J. Stuart, an editor for the Saturday Evening Post who worked with Rockwell for over 20 years.
- The pre sale estimate for the painting was $15-20 million.
- Norman Rockwell earned $3500 for the painting.
- “Saying Grace”, along with other Rockwell paintings in this auction, had been displayed at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. for over 20 years.
- Norman Rockwell produce 322 covers for the Saturday Evening Post during his 47 year-long career.
- Rockwell’s son modeled for the painting. He is sitting at the table with his back to the window.
- The “Saying Grace” painting was voted as the Saturday Evening Post readers’ favorite cover in a 1955 survey.
- In Rockwell’s memoir, he said the painting was more about the respectful reaction of the onlookers than the two people praying.
Another popular painting by Norman Rockwell is “Lincoln the Railsplitter”. You can see it in this article about Patriotic Art.
There is a lot to learn from the art of Norman Rockwell. Several good books are out there and here are some quick links if you are in the mood to grab a couple for your library:
Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick.
Best of Norman Rockwell by Tom Rockwell
Norman Rockwell: 332 Magazine Covers by Christopher Finch
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If you are an art buyer, my work sells for nowhere close to $46 million! Have a look at CraigShillam.com