For the most part, the year’s top ten art auctions compiled by Bloomberg News reporters Katya Kazakina and Scott Reyburn conjure up visions of a world we keyboard-stained wretches can only dream of. A realm where for example London-based jeweler Laurence Graff, as a “birthday gift to himself,” purchased Roy Lichtenstein‘s 1963 work “Woman with Flowered Hat” from Christie’s New York… for $56.1 million. (Graff turned 75 in June.)
But at the very end of the Bloomberg list, in a tenth-place $46.1 million tie, there is hope. In the form of “Saying Grace:”
Norman Rockwell’s 1951 painting set an auction record for the American figurative artist at Sotheby’s in New York on December 4. The price surpassed a high estimate of $20 million and almost tripled Rockwell’s previous auction record of $15.4 million set in 2006, also at Sotheby’s.
The work was consigned by the family of Kenneth J. Stuart Sr., the Saturday Evening Post art editor who worked with Rockwell for about 20 years. The “Saying Grace” image first appeared in the paper’s Thanksgiving issue in 1951. It depicts a gray-haired woman and a boy saying grace at a crowded restaurant table.
We’re not suggesting that many of today’s magazine employees will transition decades from now to such a posthumous, two-comma exclamation point. We’re simply here to confirm that it happened.
All told, the eleven items on the Bloomberg list fetched just over three-quarters of a billion dollars.
[Image courtesy: Sotheby’s New York]
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Christie’s Offers Up Some Major Ring Bling