Lot 22
  • 22

NORMAN ROCKWELL | Boy Hiding Under Couch Sneezing (The Sneezing Spy)

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Norman Rockwell
  • Boy Hiding Under Couch Sneezing (The Sneezing Spy)
  • signed Norman/Rockwell (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 26 1/2 by 22 inches
  • (67.3 by 55.9 cm)
  • Painted in 1921.


Private collection, Honolulu, Hawaii
Acquired by the present owner from the above


The Saturday Evening Post, October 1, 1921, cover illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.
Dr. Donald Stoltz and Marshall L. Stoltz, Norman Rockwell and ‘The Saturday Evening Post:’ The Later Years, 1943-1971, New York, 1976, p. 85, illustrated p. 86
Mary Moline, Norman Rockwell Encyclopedia: A Chronological Catalogue of the Artist’s Work, 1910-1978, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1979, p. 40, illustrated fig. 1-151
Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, vol. I, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, no. C231, p. 87, illustrated
Jan Cohn, Covers of “The Saturday Evening Post:" Seventy Years of Outstanding Illustration from America’s Favorite Magazine, New York, 1995, illustrated p. 101

Catalogue Note

Throughout the course of his long and prolific career, Norman Rockwell developed a significant and unique partnership with The Saturday Evening Post, ultimately executing 321 cover illustrations for the publication over a forty-seven year period. These commissions allowed Rockwell’s distinctive aesthetic to reach millions of American households on a daily basis and ultimately became integral to the country’s vision of itself, its history and its values.  By presenting his audience with wholesome, humorous and idealistic images of their own lives, Rockwell earned himself a reputation as one of the most celebrated illustrators of the 20th century. 

Appearing on the cover of The Post in October 1921, Sneezing Spy reflects the central role that the theme of young romance played in Rockwell’s body of work. The young couple the artist depicts here appeared in several of his illustrations from the 1920s, allowing the audience to follow the progression of their courtship. In the present picture Rockwell employs his characteristic sympathetic humor to illustrate a moment when the lovers are suddenly disturbed by a younger brother who has been hiding beneath the couch. Rockwell infuses the scene with rich details, such as the Chinese drapery strewn over the arm of the daybed, and successfully incorporates the magazine's standard cover format to create a fully realized scene, transporting his viewer to a specific time and place. Sneezing Spy demonstrates not only the full extent of the artist’s technical precision and masterful draftsmanship, but also his seemingly limitless imagination, making it a remarkable example of Rockwell’s unparalleled ability to elevate commercial endeavors into the aesthetic realm.

Please note this lot is accompanied by a copy of the October 1, 1921 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, for which the present work served as the cover illustration.