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Rockwell Painting Sells for $46 Million

Three of Norman Rockwell’s best-known paintings of homey, small-town America, which are among the most popular of the artist’s Saturday Evening Post covers, sold at Sotheby’s American Art auction on Wednesday morning for a total of more than $57 million.
The last price for “Saying Grace,” considered Rockwell’s masterpiece, was $46 million, after nine and a half minutes of spirited bidding. The painting, which demonstrates a crowded restaurant with a boy and an old woman bowing their heads in prayer, sold for more than double its high estimate, and far more than the $15.4 million price another Rockwell brought in 2006. The image had topped a Saturday Evening Post readers’ poll in 1955, four years after it was painted.
Another favorite, “The Gossips”, a finger-wagging montage that included Rockwell’s friends, neighbors and even the artist himself, painted in 1948, sold for $8.45 million.
The third most important painting in the sale, “Walking to Church,” brought $3.2 million and was purchased by Rick Lapham, an American paintings dealer, on behalf of a client. Mr. Lapham was one of only two bidders for the painting.

The paintings had belonged to the magazine’s longtime art director, Kenneth J. Stuart, who received them as presents from the artist. They were being sold by his three sons.
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