May 23, 2014 11:46 PM GMT
Peter Rockwell, son of Norman Rockwell, with “The Rookie,” which sold for $22.5 million on Thursday.
NYT: Norman Rockwell, the American artist and illustrator who depicted life in mid-20th-century America and died in 1978, was not treated seriously. “Norman Rockwell was demonized by a generation of critics who not only saw him as an enemy of modern art, but of all art,” said Deborah Solomon, whose biography of Rockwell, “American Mirror,” was published last year. “He was seen as a lowly calendar artist whose work was unrelated to the lofty ambitions of art,” she said, or, as she put it in her book, “a cornball and a square.” The critical dismissal “was obviously a source of great pain throughout his life,” Ms. Solomon added.
But Rockwell is now undergoing a major critical and financial reappraisal. This week, the major auction houses built their spring sales of American art around two Rockwell paintings: “After the Prom,” at Sotheby’s, and “The Rookie,” at Christie’s. “After the Prom” sold for $9.1 million on Wednesday; “The Rookie” for $22.5 million on Thursday.
In December, “Saying Grace” set an auction record for Rockwell, selling at Sotheby’s for $46 million.