Sotheby’s did well with its Norman Rockwell painting emphasizing the election. Works by Norman Rockwell accounted for more than 40% of the sale’s total. Other top Rockwells performed creditably too. Rockwell Kent’s Gray Day made a record for the artist and outperformed the estimates.
Here’s Sotheby’s own report on their sale:
led by Norman Rockwell’s Which One?, a painting that appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post prior to the 1944 presidential election between Democratic incumbent, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Republican challenger, Thomas Dewey. Making its auction debut, the striking depiction of a Cedar Rapids resident contemplating his nominees was pursued by three telephone bidders before selling for $6.5 million (estimate $4/6 million).
With his inimitable combination of warmth, wit and humor, Norman Rockwell informed and captivated the average American in 1944, and continues to do so today. In fact, four paintings by the artist collectively brought $10 million today.
Liz Sterling, Head of Sotheby’s American Art Department noted: “Today we saw strong interest in works spanning the full diversity of genres represented in our sales: from Childe Hassam’s impressionist New York Street Scene, to Milton Avery’s modern Woman and Orange Mandolin and Albert Bierstadt’s western picture of Yosemite. We were particularly delighted to establish a new record for Rockwell Kent, who painted Gray Day at the height of his career in the 1930s.