NEW YORK – A Norman Rockwell painting titled “Saying Grace” has sold in New York for $46 million, the highest price paid for any work sold at a U.S. art auction or for any work by the 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 in 1999 for a work by George Bellows titled “Polo Crowd.”