We’ve had old master paintings by Leonardo in Contemporary evening sales before and there is the increasing appearance of Modernist works by American painters in Impressionist and Modern sales but Phillips has decided the best place to sell a Norman Rockwell painting that has only been held by two families in the sixty years since it was painted is in the November 20th Century & Contemporary art sale.
On 14 November, Phillips will offer Norman Rockwell’s Before the Shot, marking the first time that a work by the iconic American illustrator will appear in an Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, as well as the first time that one of his paintings will be offered at Phillips. The work has never before been sold publicly, having remained in just two families’ collections since it was painted, the first of which was Rockwell’s own doctor and the model for the painting.
Elizabeth Goldberg, Senior International Specialist of American Art and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas, said, “We are honored to introduce Norman Rockwell’s paintings to Phillips’ auctions by including this masterwork in our November Evening Sale. While Rockwell has traditionally been offered in sales of American Art, we are eager to break down the barriers that separate these collecting categories and reexamine the way that these different voices of the 20th century are classified. Before the Shot is one of the most recognizable paintings by one of America’s most iconic artists. This November, Rockwell’s name will be rightfully positioned alongside other international 20th and 21st century masters, including Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.”
One of Rockwell’s most well-known paintings, Before the Shot is a nostalgic and humorous reflection of American culture in the 1950s, elevating the commonplace to the remarkable. Nearly identical to the version gracing the cover of the March 15, 1958, issue of The Saturday Evening Post,.