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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chappell: Rockwell’s Baseball Painting ‘The Rookie’ Sells For $20 Million (NPR)

Norman Rockwell’s “The Rookie” has sold for $20 million at auction Thursday. The 1957 painting of baseball players in a locker room was sold by Christie’s auction house — heady heights for a work that first appeared on a magazine that sold for 15 cents.

A painting I’ve always admired, a popular subject for jigsaw puzzles and the like.  #8 in the painting is catcher Sammy White, not Frank Sullivan as the article suggests.  The focus of the picture is Jackie Jensen looking up in quizzical welcome.  Ted Williams (who as the article explains did not pose for the picture) provides a subtext, giving The Rookie a furtive side glance while said Rookie doesn’t even notice him. 

Thanks to spike, who linked to a linked story in the OTP thread.

BDC Posted: May 22, 2014 at 12:04 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: americana, art, jackie jensen, media, red sox, sammy white, ted williams

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   1. Moeball Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4711473)
Looks like T. Williams standing right in front of The Rookie.

Of more interest to me is that one of the seated players is clearly wearing #8, one of the last times someone will wear that number before Yaz.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 22, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4711484)
#8 in the painting is catcher Sammy White, not Frank Sullivan as the article suggests.

The uniform numbers don't necessarily have much to do with identifying the players. The players were sketched "live" during the 1956 season, when White was #22. (He only wore #8 briefly in 1955.) Sullivan never wore #8, but the face in the picture looks much more like him than like White. Not to mention that I doubt if Sullivan would be trying to pull an identity theft after all these years. (smile)
   3. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4711842)
It's weird, I had long considered Rockwell a highly underrated artist but his work is going for huge amounts these days. I can't tell whether it's because of the crazy art inflation, or because he's finally getting more respect, or both, or something more.
   4. GregD Posted: May 22, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4711898)
Frank Sullivan definitely posed for the painting and was brought back for the recent public display for the auction. I don't know the answer to the number question but could probably find out as I am two degrees of separation from him in terms of close friends/family members.
   5. jmurph Posted: May 23, 2014 at 08:07 AM (#4711957)
It's weird, I had long considered Rockwell a highly underrated artist but his work is going for huge amounts these days. I can't tell whether it's because of the crazy art inflation, or because he's finally getting more respect, or both, or something more.


Probably doesn't hurt that two incredibly rich filmmakers, Spielberg and Lucas, are Rockwell collectors. I would think that would help drive up the prices.

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