The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sotheby's to offer masterworks by Norman Rockwell from the Stuart Family Collection
Norman Rockwell, Saying Grace. Cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post, November 24, 1951. Estimate $15/20 million. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announces that its American Art auction in New York on 4 December 2013 will offer an extraordinary selection of paintings by Norman Rockwell from the family of Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., the artist’s longtime friend and art director at the Saturday Evening Post. The seven works are led by two icons of Rockwell’s extensive oeuvre – his singular masterpiece Saying Grace (est. $15/20 million*), voted by Post readers as their favorite cover, and The Gossips (est. $6/9 million) – as well as Walking to Church (est. $3/5 million) and a color study for Breaking Home Ties (est. $200/300,000), the final version of which set the artist’s current auction record when it sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2006 for $15.4 million.

The collection has descended in Stuart’s family to the present owners, and is estimated to achieve more than $24 million. Select works will be on view in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and New York throughout the fall.

Elizabeth Goldberg, Head of Sotheby’s American Art department, commented: “To offer any one of these masterworks would be a great privilege. To present two of Norman Rockwell’s most iconic works in one auction truly is unprecedented. Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., who was both a gifted art director and close friend, led Rockwell to produce what are arguably the greatest works of his career. The men were at their best when collaborating, which clearly is evident in this collection. Rockwell’s vision of American life has become so influential that many of his scenes feel deeply familiar, but when experienced in person these paintings illicit an emotional response that is far more powerful than anticipated.”

Rockwell created his first cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1916 and, over the course of the next several decades, rose to become the publication’s most popular and successful illustrator. By the mid-1940s, Rockwell had honed his aesthetic and technique: by adopting a more sophisticated subject matter and compositional design – often accomplished with a series of photographs that he meticulously arranged – Rockwell began to craft the nostalgic and humorous vision of American life for which he is known today.

This highly productive and creative period for Rockwell coincided with the start of his personal and professional relationship with Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., who became the Post’s art editor in 1943. Stuart and Rockwell would work together for the next 18 years, collaborating as artist and editor on many of the Post’s most popular covers, including Saying Grace, The Gossips and Walking to Church.


Norman Rockwell
Saying Grace
Cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post, November 24, 1951
Estimate $15/20 million

Originally painted for the Thanksgiving issue of the Saturday Evening Post in 1951, Rockwell’s Saying Grace was named his most popular cover just four years later in a reader poll that coincided with an exhibition of his work at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. A reader originally submitted the basic concept for the composition, writing to the artist about the atypical experience of seeing a Mennonite family praying in a restaurant – Rockwell later claimed that while he received thousands of suggestions for covers from readers, he used only four over the course of his career. Many of the artist’s favorite models are depicted: his son Jarvis is seated at the table with his back to the window, next to Don Winslow, his studio apprentice at the time.

Elizabeth Goldberg said: “The attention to detail in Saying Grace is astonishing, as are the sophisticated composition and technique. The low perspective draws the viewer into the scene, so that we feel as though we are sitting in the diner among the other patrons. Rockwell’s distinctive vision and seemingly limitless imagination make even this specific story universal. The imagery of Saying Grace feels like it belongs to everyone, which demonstrates the artist’s great ability to distill experiences into paintings that everyone can relate to.”

Norman Rockwell
The Gossips
Cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post, March 6, 1948
Estimate $6/9 million

‘Gossip’ was one of Rockwell’s favorite themes, and he explored it more than once over his prolific career. The figures depicted in the present work are his Arlington, Vermont neighbors, whom he posed and photographed, as well as the artist himself and his wife Mary (Rockwell in bottom row right, wearing a hat; Mary second from left and third row from top).

Scholars today often point to Rockwell’s application of cinematic techniques, which are particularly visible in The Gossips: a sequence of frames that convey the progression of the scene, similar to the editing of a movie montage.

Norman Rockwell
Walking to Church
Cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post, April 4, 1953
Estimate $3/5 million

Walking to Church is a relatively rare street scene for Rockwell, who tended to favor interior scenes as in Saying Grace. He based the present work on a painting he greatly admired by Johann Vermeer called The Little Street. Rockwell originally wanted to make his work the same size as the Dutch original, but his structure was slightly larger – Rockwell later commented, “I couldn’t paint it better than Vermeer, so I painted it bigger.”

The street depicted is a composite of Bennington, Vermont (the church steeple), Troy, New York (the storefront and brownstone), as well as a section of Cambridge in Washington County. Residents of both Arlington and Troy serve as the models. Rockwell’s relationship with religion was a complicated one: though not an explicitly religious man, he promoted acceptance and tolerance.

Today's News

September 20, 2013

Major exhibition of Australian art opens at the Royal Academy of Arts in London

Swiss National Museum unveils an exhibition of Charlemagne, the Father of Europe in its medieval form

Sotheby's to offer masterworks by Norman Rockwell from the Stuart Family Collection

Exhibition presents twelve of Richard Serra's drawings created especially for the Courtauld Gallery

Hôtel des Ventes sale features over 2,000 lots of works of art, luxury items and collectibles

Exhibition of works from 1945 to 1974 by Mark Tobey featured in exhibition at Moeller Fine Art

First exhibition of Swiss artist Urs Fischer's work in Rome opens at Gagosian Gallery

Newark Museum showcases its greatest Chinese treasures in new exhibition

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park curates glass-based exhibition coinciding with ArtPrize

New body of work by British artist Idris Khan on view at Victoria Miro in London

Exhibition of new works by Raymond Pettibon on view at David Zwirner in New York

Exhibition of drawings and collages by Marcel Odenbach opens at Kunstmuseum Bonn

Sotheby's Asian Art Sales in New York total $74 million more than doubling the combined low estimate

Giant yellow duck finds new home in Taiwan

Exhibition looks at New York City's iconic landmarks "from another angle"

Artist Beth Lipman installation comes to Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Bhopal landmark work which echoes Picasso's "Guernica" heads Bonhams Indian and Islamic Art Sale

American artist and social activist Theaster Gates opens two exhibitions at White Cube

Astronomy Photographer of the Year at the Royal Observatory Greenwich winners announced

Artsy comes to iPhone & iPod touch

Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga presents Jonathan Monk's Family Album

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful