MARIA PUENTE ©2013 USA Today
Norman Rockwell, long America’s favorite
mass-market painter, now has auction records to match his popularity. “Saying
Grace,” one of his masterpieces, sold for $46 million at auction December 4 — a
price three times higher than his previous record.
Two other iconic paintings by Rockwell,
who died in 1978, also sold for a total of nearly $12 million, according to The Associated Press.
There’s no word yet on who bought the
It was “Grace” that drew all eyes at
Sotheby’s in New York. It is an affecting image of a crowded restaurant with a
little boy and a woman bowed in prayer at their table as other diners look on.
It’s one of the most memorable paintings
by Rockwell, who produced more than 300 for the covers of the old Saturday
Evening Post across a 40-year span. Published in 1951, the painting was voted a
favorite cover by readers in 1955.
The painting had a pre-sale estimate of
$15 million to $20 million. In 2006, Sotheby’s sold Rockwell’s “Breaking Home
Ties” for more than $15 million, which was then a record for the artist.
The paintings were sold by descendants
of Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., Rockwell’s friend and the art director at the
Saturday Evening Post. For nearly two decades, “Grace” had been on loan at the
Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., where Rockwell spent his last
The other paintings sold Wednesday, “The
Gossips” and “Walking to Church,” went for just under $8.5 million and a little
more than $3.2 million, respectively.