Norman Rockwell's Red Sox painting 'The Rookie' sells for $22.6M

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Months after Sotheby's sold several Rockwell paintings, including "Saying Grace," for a record price, auction house Christie's sold "The Rookie" for $22.6 million to a private bidder.

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Copyright 2014 Reuters
Copyright 2014 Reuters
Norman Rockwell's "The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room)" was sold May 22 to a private bidder at Christie's in New York for $22.6 million. The painting, which appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1957, shows Hall of Famer Ted Williams and others reacting to a young ballplayer at spring training. Copyright 2014 Reuters

Norman Rockwell's "The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room)" was sold May 22 to a private bidder at Christie's in New York for $22.6 million. The painting, which appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1957, shows Hall of Famer Ted Williams and others reacting to a young ballplayer at spring training.

Sotheby's sold several Rockwell pieces in Dec. 2013, including 1951's "Saying Grace," for $46,085,000 -- a record price for a piece by the artist. In 2006, Sotheby's sold another Rockwell piece, "Breaking Home Ties," for more than $15 million, setting the previous record price for a Rockwell.

"The Gossips" sold at the Dec. 2013 auction for about $8.5 million and "Walking to Church" fetched some $3.2 million -- both were also featured as Saturday Evening Post covers. All three paintings, including "Saying Grace," had been on loan at the Norman Rockwell Museum in the artist's hometown of Stockbridge, Mass.

The paintings sold in Dec. 2013 had belonged to the family of Kenneth Stuart, Rockwell's longtime art director at the Saturday Evening Post. A Rockwell painting, titled "Sport," vanished from a Queens storage facility in Sept. 2013 after it sold for $1,085,000 at a Sotheby's auction in May 2013.

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