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In what can only be called a Lazarus like return from the dead, the traditional American paintings market roared back to life with the sale of a Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) painting, “Saying Grace” was hammered down for $46.085 million dollars in an auction at Sothebys, New York on Wednesday December 4, 2013. The painting adorned the cover of the Saturday Evening Post Magazine in 1951 for which the artist was paid $3,500 at the time.

Another Norman Rockwell, “The Gossips,” sold for $8.453 million Perhaps this should be used to illustrate the art market as its revival becomes news. N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), “Beginning of the American Union, General Washington salutes the flag as he takes command of the Continental Army” for $485,000.

Other lots of strength included an Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), “Lake in the Sierra Nevada” which sold for $2 million, Maxfield Parrish, “Knave of Hearts” for $1.925 million, Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), “Final Study for the Icebergs” for $900,000 (the original hung in a Manchester UK boarding school for almost a century before selling for $3 million in 1979. The Sotheby’s sale totaled $83.915 million.

American art 1

Saying Grace

Christie’s holds their American paintings sale at 49th Street in Rockefeller Center, NY on Thursday with this painting by Sanford gifford being one of their featured lots at $3 million to $5 million. Property of the Union League Club of New York, it used to hang in the Oval Office of the White House.

A large painting by gifford sold for $900,000 at Sotheby’s, but it had no where near the museum exhibition history the Union League club example does which was the recent centerpiece of a traveling show organized by Eleanor Harvey of the Smithsonian Institution on the art of the American Civil War.

About the Author

Robert Alexander Boyle

Robert Alexander Boyle

 Alexander Boyle is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, CT where he majored in History. Prior to graduation he co-authored the seminal book Acid Rain in 1983. Alex has worked for the Metropo...