Norman Rockwell’s Lazybones (1919) realised $912,500 in Heritage Auctions’ American Art signature sale in Dallas on November 3.
The canvas is among Rockwell’s earliest commissions for the Saturday Evening Post, painted just three years after he was discovered by editor George Lorimer.
Lazybones is among Rockwell's earliest commissions for the Saturday Evening Post
It shows a well built boy napping on the job and perfectly showcases Rockwell’s skill in capturing personality.
The painting has an unusual story.
During the 1950s it hung in a suburban rec room in New Jersey. One evening a man named Robert Grant, a friend of the owner, dropped round to play pool and accidently slashed it with a cue.
Mortified, Grant offered to buy it from the original owner – who graciously accepted. He paid $100, a decent sum of money back then.
It remained with Grant until the mid-1970s, when it was stolen from his home.
The painting was only recovered last year, following an FBI appeal. It turned up in the kitchen of an antiques dealer, who had no idea as to its provenance.
The canvas has had a rough half century, but was painstakingly refurbished in the run-up to the sale. It now looks as good as new.
Rockwell is one of the biggest American artists around. Shuffleton’s Barbershop, one of his masterworks, is expected to make $30m in an upcoming sale at Sotheby’s.
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