Rockwell masterpiece leads bumper American sale


Norman Rockwell’s masterpiece Saying Grace set a new record for any work sold in an American art auction and nearly tripled the previous auction record for the artist when it achieved $46 million at Sotheby’s American Art auction in New York yesterday. The price far exceeded its $20 million high estimate.

The painting was one of a group of paintings by the illustrator that formed the centrepiece of the auction. The total achieved by the auction was $83.9 million, well in excess of its $62.1 million high estimate and with a strong sell-through rate of 88 percent by lot. It was the fourth consecutive American Art auction at Sotheby’s to exceed its pre-sale estimate.

Other strong prices included Paul Manship’s 21-inch tall bronze sculpture Indian Hunter and his Dog that tripled its high estimate on its way to selling for $1.5 million – a new world auction record for the artist – as well as Thomas Moran’s 1915 landscape Grand Canyon in Mist that achieved $1.4 million.

Competition for American illustration extended to Maxfield Parrish, whose The Knave of Hearts: The Six Little Ingredients sold for $1.9 million – more than five times its high estimate of $350,000.