Norman Rockwell painting sells for record-breaking $46 million

Norman Rockwell painting sells for record-breaking $46 million
Norman Rockwell's 1951 painting "Saying Grace" broke auction records at Sotheby's in New York on Wednesday when it sold for a record $46 million. (Associated Press)

Norman Rockwell’s 1951 painting “Saying Grace” broke auction records Wednesday when it sold at Sotheby's in New York City for $46 million. That is the highest price an American painting has ever garnered at auction, Sotheby’s said.

George Bellows' "Polo Crowd" set the previous record for an American painting in 1999, when it sold for $27.7 million. That sale also took place at Sotheby's.

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The Rockwell painting depicts a grandson and his grandmother praying at their table in a bustling restaurant. It sold for more than double its pre-sale estimate, which was $15 million to $20 million. The buyer of the work was not named.

In November, a three-panel painting by British artist Francis Bacon titled "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" broke auction price records at Christie's in New York, garnering $142.4 million – the most paid for any work ever sold at an auction.

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch held the top spot for highest auction price tag before that -- it sold at Sotheby's in 2012 for almost $120 million.

Also at the November Christie's auction, Jeff Koons' sculpture "Balloon Dog (Orange)" sold for $58.4 million, which is a record price for a living artist.

Ten Rockwell works in all sold at the Wednesday Sotheby's auction. Two others garnered particularly big price tags: "The Gossips" brought just under $8.5 million and "Walking to Church" went for a little more than $3.2 million.

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