WINCHANDON, Massachusetts (AP) – An organization of Veterans in Massachusetts sold an original 1945 Norman Rockwell painting for $ 3.6 million at auction last weekend to raise funds after years of declining revenues, exacerbated by the pandemic.
American Legion Post 193, located in Winchendon, acquired the painting in 1959 as a donation from the art collection of a local priest. Coral Mae Grout, former president of the Post, said that after nearly two decades of weighing whether to sell, the time has come, according to Telegram & Gazette.
Thanksgiving House features a soldier sitting next to his mother, who looks at him lovingly as he peels potatoes. It was commissioned for the November 24, 1945 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The auction listing described the painting as “the story of the first Thanksgiving after the Allied victory.”
The artwork had hung near the main door of the Legion for years, and most members assumed it was a reproduction. The painting was appraised in the early 1980s after someone offered to buy it for $ 500, the newspaper said. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge has kept it safe ever since, sometimes showing it in special exhibitions.
But faced with a choice: to close Post permanently or to part ways with Rockwell, the members decided to sell.
The newspaper estimated that the painting could have bought up to $ 7 million, but in the end it raised $ 3.6 million, and the Legion will receive additional funds, agreed with the auction house.