Saying Grace (Rockwell)

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Saying Grace
Saying Grace, Norman Rockwell.jpg
Artist Norman Rockwell
Year1951 (1951)
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions110 cm× 100 cm(42 in× 40 in)
LocationPrivate collection

Saying Grace is a 1951 painting by American illustrator Norman Rockwell, painted for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post's November 24, 1951, Thanksgiving issue. [1] [2] [3]

Norman Rockwell American painter

Norman Percevel Rockwell was an American author, painter and illustrator. His works have a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine over nearly five decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, and the Four Freedoms series. He is also noted for his 64-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), during which he produced covers for their publication Boys' Life, calendars, and other illustrations. These works include popular images that reflect the Scout Oath and Scout Law such as The Scoutmaster, A Scout is Reverent and A Guiding Hand, among many others.

<i>The Saturday Evening Post</i>

The Saturday Evening Post is an American magazine, currently published six times a year. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1963, then every two weeks until 1969. From the 1920s to the 1960s, it was one of the most widely circulated and influential magazines for the American middle class, with fiction, non-fiction, cartoons and features that reached millions of homes every week. The magazine declined in readership through the 1960s, and in 1969 The Saturday Evening Post folded for two years before being revived as a quarterly publication with an emphasis on medical articles in 1971.

Thanksgiving (United States) holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by George Washington after a request by Congress. Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, and its celebration was intermittent until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War. Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the date was changed to the fourth Thursday in November, an innovation that endures to this day. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall–winter holiday season in the U.S.


The painting depicts a woman and a young boy saying grace in a crowded restaurant, as they are observed by other people at their table. [3] Rockwell's inspiration for Saying Grace came from a Saturday Evening Post reader who saw a Mennonite family praying in a restaurant. [1] Rockwell used his son, Jarvis, as one of the models for the painting. [1] Elizabeth Goldberg, director of American Art at Sotheby's said that in his preparations for Saying Grace Rockwell "... visited Automats and diners in New York and Philadelphia to get the scene just right ... his imagery was so vivid people would say they recognized the diner even though it didn't exist, each painting felt so universal." [2] Rockwell took the table and chairs from a diner in Times Square for the photo shoot for the painting. [2] In preparations for a painting Rockwell would set up a scene, using his friends and neighbors, taking hundreds of photos until satisfied. Rockwell would produce sketches in charcoal, then oil sketches, before painting the final image. [2]

Grace (prayer) type of short prayer

A grace is a short prayer or thankful phrase said before or after eating. The term most commonly refers to Christian traditions. Some traditions hold that grace and thanksgiving imparts a blessing which sanctifies the meal. In English, reciting such a prayer is sometimes referred to as "saying grace". The term comes from the Ecclesiastical Latin phrase gratiarum actio, "act of thanks." In Christian theology, the act of saying grace is derived from the Bible, in which Jesus and Saint Paul pray before meals. The practice reflects the belief that humans should thank God who is the origin of everything.

Sotheby's is a British founded American multinational corporation headquartered in New York City. One of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles, Sotheby's operation is divided into three segments: auction, finance, and dealer. The company's services range from corporate art services to private sales. It is named after one of its cofounders, John Sotheby.

Automat fast food restaurant where simple foods and drink are served by vending machines

An automat is a fast food restaurant where simple foods and drink are served by vending machines. The world's first automat was named Quisisana, which opened in Berlin, Germany in 1895.

Rockwell was paid $3,500 (equivalent to $33,784in 2018) [4] for Saying Grace. [2] Readers of The Saturday Evening Post voted Saying Grace their favorite ever cover in 1955. [1] Saying Grace had been on a long term loan at the Norman Rockwell Museum, and had been exhibited at 12 other museums across the United States before its 2013 sale. [3]

Norman Rockwell Museum Art museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

The Norman Rockwell Museum is an art museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, dedicated to the art of Norman Rockwell. It is home to the world's largest collection of original Rockwell art.

2013 sale

Saying Grace sold for $46 million (including a buyer's premium) at Sotheby's in December 2013, setting a new record price for Rockwell's art. Rockwell's previous record had been set in 2006 by the $15 million sale of Breaking Home Ties. [3] Saying Grace had been expected to sell for between $15 million and $20 million. [3] The buyer of Saying Grace was not identified. [1]

Two other Rockwell paintings that had been loaned to the Norman Rockwell Museum were sold alongside Saying Grace; The Gossips and Walking to Church . [3] The three paintings, along with four other art works by Rockwell, were sold by the descendants of Kenneth J. Stuart, the art director of The Saturday Evening Post. The sale of the art works was initiated after the conclusion of a legal disagreement among Stuart's sons. [1] A long term colleague of Rockwell's, Stuart had been given the paintings by Rockwell as a gift. [3] Saying Grace had hung in Stuart's office at the Saturday Evening Post, and subsequently in the Stuarts' living room in Wilton, Connecticut. Stuart's sons could no longer afford the insurance and upkeep of the paintings by the time of their 2013 sale. [2]

<i>Walking to Church</i> painting by Norman Rockwell

Walking to Church is a 1952 painting by the American painter Norman Rockwell, painted for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post's April 4, 1953, issue.

Art director is the title for a variety of similar job functions in theater, advertising, marketing, publishing, fashion, film and television, the Internet, and video games.

Wilton, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Wilton is a town in Fairfield County in southwestern Connecticut in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 18,062.

Upon Stuart's death in 1993, his estate was divided equally among his three sons, Ken Jr., William, and Jonathan. [2] The oldest brother, Ken Jr., was subsequently sued by William and Jonathan, who claimed that he had forced their father to sign papers so he could gain control of his fortune. [2] They additionally claimed that Ken Jr. had used the assets of his father's estate for his own expenses. The three brothers settled out of court before the sale. [2] The owner of The Saturday Evening Post, Curtis Publishing Company, which retains reproduction rights to Rockwell's artworks, also unsuccessfully attempted to claim ownership of the paintings. [2]

Curtis Publishing Company

The Curtis Publishing Company, founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, became one of the largest and most influential publishers in the United States during the early 20th century. The company's publications included the Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post, The American Home, Holiday, Jack & Jill, and Country Gentleman. In the 1940s, Curtis also had a comic book imprint, Novelty Press.

The director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Laurie Norton Moffatt, has expressed her hope that the paintings will eventually be reunited with the museum. Moffatt said of the paintings that "We cared for them like children ... We hope they come back some day. We believe that's where they belong." [1] Moffatt said that the loss of the paintings left an "irreplaceable hole in the museum's collection." [5]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Norman Rockwell painting bought for record $46m price at Sotheby's auction". The Guardian. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Carol Vogel. "Norman Rockwell's America, Newly Up for Bid". The New York Times. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Norman Rockwell's 'Saying Grace' Sells For $46 Million At Auction". National Public Radio. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  4. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  5. "The Normam Rockwell Museum's loss is Sotheby's gain". Hub Business. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.