Norman Rockwell's Saying Grace sold for $46 million, a new record for any work in the American Art category.

NEW YORK - Sotheby’s American Art auction achieved an exceptional total of $83.9 million, well in excess of its $62.1 million high estimate and the third highest total for any auction of American Art. The centerpiece of the sale was a selection of seven works by Norman Rockwell offered by the family of Kenneth J. Stuart, Sr. – the artist’s longtime friend and art editor of The Saturday Evening Post.

Norman Rockwell's The Gossips sold for $8.5 million.

The Stuart Family Collection was led by Rockwell’s 1951 masterpiece Saying Grace, which achieved $46 million. The result nearly tripled the previous auction record for the artist, and now represents the highest price paid for any American painting. Saying Grace is among the most iconic images of Rockwell’s oeuvre and was sought after by two determined bidders who competed for over 9 minutes. Additional highlights of The Stuart Family Collection included The Gossips, which achieved nearly $8.5 million, and Walking to Church, which realized $3.2 million. All told, the collection realized $59.7 million.
In addition to great success with Rockwell, the top lots of the sale represent a cross-section of the American art field. 19th century landscapes by Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, modernist pictures by Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as sculpture by Paul Manship all performed extremely well. Today’s sale was the 4th consecutive American Art auction at Sotheby’s to exceed its pre-sale high estimate, with over 88% of the 68 lots sold.