ILLUSTRATOR ‘WAS A MASTER OF CAPTURING PEOPLE’S IMAGINATIONS’
In 1959, Norman Rockwell took time off from his studio to grieve over the sudden death of his wife Mary. During this break, the artist began working on his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, which offered an intimate look into the life and career of one of America’s greatest artists.
A year earlier, in 1958, Rockwell (1894–1978) remained busy painting covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Among them was Before the Shot, for the magazine’s March 15 cover.
“Before television and the movies, illustrated books and magazines were the entertainment and the escape for many Americans,” says Aviva Lehmann, director of American Art at Heritage Auctions. “Through skillful draftsmanship, thoughtful composition and sharp wit, Norman Rockwell was able to create dynamic narrative in his work.”
A study Rockwell did for Before the Shot is expected to realize at least $150,000 when it goes to auction in May. The final version of the painting is held in a private collection. An oil on canvas titled The Day I Painted Ike, done after Dwight D. Eisenhower won the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 1952, is also featured in the auction.
“Whether in a historical portrait or a sweet scene of a child at the doctor’s office, Rockwell was a master of capturing people’s imaginations,” Lehmann says. “It is no surprise that works like these are fetching six- and even seven-figure sums at auction.”
A 1948 original study Rockwell did for Tough Call, painted for the April 23, 1949, cover of The Saturday Evening Post, sold for $1.68 million at an August 2017 Heritage auction – a world auction record for an oil study by the artist.
This story appears in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.