Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room) will be offered at Christie’s sale of American Art, scheduled for May 22nd. The work, which has never been offered at auction could fetch $30 million. The work, painted in 1957 which shows Boston players dressing in the locker room, appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on March 2, 1957. The players in the painting are, from left to right, second baseman Billy Goodman (foreground), catcher Sammy White, pitcher Frank Sullivan; a tall fellow in the center who is supposed to be Ted Williams, and at far right, outfielder Jackie Jensen. The player far left is an anonymous Sox player Rockwell just used to fill out the painting.
This painting has remained in the same private collection for nearly thirty years. It has been publicly exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston twice–once in 2005 and again in 2008–following World Series victories by the Red Sox.
Elizabeth Beaman, Senior Specialist of American Art at Christie’s, said, “During his lifetime, Norman Rockwell was witness to such important artistic movements as Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. In choosing a path of illustration, however, he became as ubiquitous to the American public as the images he created. With over 800 magazine covers to his name, Rockwell earned the reputation of America’s preeminent illustrator and helped forge a sense of national identity through his art. The renewed demand for these uniquely American works of art is evidenced by their increasingly strong prices in recent seasons and this particular painting, capturing America’s favorite pastime, will surely have wide ranging appeal among collectors.”
The last Rockwell to be auctioned, a 1951 painting titled “Saving Grace” fetched $46 million, an auction record for the artist.