Rockwell art sells for record $46M at NY auction

December 4, 2013 • Entertainment

FILE – This undated file photo provided by Sotheby’s shows the popular Norman Rockwell masterpiece “The Gossips” which is heading for the auction block. It is among seven works by The Saturday Evening Post illustrator going on sale at Sotheby’s in New York on Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Sotheby’s, [auth] File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A Norman Rockwell painting titled “Saying Grace” has sold in New York for $46 million, the highest price paid for any work sold at an American art auction and for a work by the Saturday Evening Post illustrator.

Sotheby’s auction house says two people on the telephone bid against each other for nine minutes before the hammer came down Wednesday. The buyer’s identity hasn’t been disclosed.

“Saying Grace” depicts a train station restaurant with a woman and her grandson bowed in prayer at their table. It had a pre-sale estimate of $15 million to $20 million.

Sotheby’s sold Rockwell’s “Breaking Home Ties” in 2006 for more than $15 million, then a record.

The previous record at an auction of American art was $27.7 million at Sotheby’s in 1999 for a work by George Bellows titled “Polo Crowd.”

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