|Walking to Church|
It was one of three paintings sold earlier this week at Sotheby’s for a collective $57.8 million. Fetching the most money by far, $46 million, is a piece called “Saying Grace,” which is $20 million more than previously paid for any of Rockwell’s work, according to the Times. In 2006, Rockwell’s “Breaking Home Ties” sold for $15.4 million, the previous standard for one of his hometown-themed paintings.
The Saturday Evening Post magazine paid Rockwell $3,500 to paint “Saying Grace,” which features a boy and an elderly woman bowing their heads at dinner time, in 1955. That amount equals about $30,500 in today’s dollars according to the Times. According to the Don Rittner, writing on the Times Union website, the background in "Saying Grace" is the Burden Iron Works. It looks kind of non-descript to me, but hen again all I know about Art is I had a ball at his bar on Fourth Street.
The third painting sold Wednesday is called “The Gossips,” (below) which features a number of finger-wagging people talking to each other, and it went for $8.45 million. It graced the magazine’s cover in 1948.
Asked why the painting that featured Troy buildings went for a relative paltry sum of money, the buyer, Rick Lapham, told the Times “It’s stylistically different” than Rockwell’s more famous paintings.
“Walking to Church” was on the magazine’s cover on April 4, 1953 and shows family members carrying bibles who are presumably, given the title, walking to church. According to the Times “Rockwell based its composition on a Vermeer painting, ‘The Little Street,’ translating the scene to fit his idealized version of an urban street scene.”
He used a composite of different buildings in Troy and a church steeple in Vermont, according to the Times.
I don’t recognize the buildings at all, and don’t recognize the steeple. It’s because of that – and the fact I am unemployed – that I did not bid on the painting.