Top Lot: Lot 30, Norman Rockwell, The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room), oil on canvas, Painted in 1957. Price Realized: $22,565,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd
NEW YORK, NY— At the end of Christie’s sale of American Art in New York Thursday, Norman Rockwell’s The Rookie led the art auction, fetching $22,565,000. The oil on canvas painted in 1957 allows an insight into the Boston Red Sox Locker Room. It features a tall scrawny rookie, who seems lost in a locker filled with professional baseball players.
The Rookie is one of the 323 covers Rockwell produced for the Saturday Evening Post. The sale of The Rookie is another marker in the recent unprecedented attention given to artworks by Norman Rockwell by art auction houses in the last five years. Rockwell who died in 1978 never got the needed and well –deserved attention from art auction houses during his life time. Just recently, one of works Saying Grace was sold for 46 million dollars at Sotheby’s.
During Christie’s auction of American Art in New York, 167 lots were offered, and 115 sold, achieving $64,006,000. Besides The Rookie, several other Rockwells featured prominently, achieving great results. Liz Sterling, Head of American Art, commented, “The strong result of this sale confirms the continued strength of the market for American Art, with all sectors of the category having performed well.
Norman Rockwell’s The Rookie led the sale at $22.6 million, an all-American illustration, which is the second highest price for the artist at auction and the highest price of the season. Western art also saw top prices, with Thomas Moran’s masterwork The Grand Canyon of the Colorado achieving $12.5 million. Fresh-to-the market works with esteemed provenance commanded top prices; five lots from the Estate of Edgar Bronfman realized a total of $2,357,000, led by Milton Avery’s The Mandolin Player. We look forward to the sale of An American Dynasty: The Clark Family Treasures on June 18, in which works by John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase are among the top lots.”