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Norman Rockwell Cubs painting fetches $662,500 at Christie's

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Norman Rockwell's "The Dugout," courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2009

Finally, a sleepy scene from the Cubs dugout ends with a positive. Sadly, this is not a reference to the current batch of North Siders and their aging caretaker, Lou Piniella.

New York auction house Christie's spun off the Norman Rockwell painting "The Dugout" Wednesday in an auction worth a nifty $662,500 - plus some fees that are hardly worth mentioning on top of that pile of dough.

Here's what Christie's had to say on the work:

The Dugout is exemplary of Rockwell's ability to imbue his work with narrative and capture the essence and character of the people that he depicted. In the present work he adeptly captures the anxiety tinged focus of the player who is next at bat, while his teammates' glum facial expressions and body positions reveal that the game is not going in their favor. Rockwell masterfully captures the energy of the crowd behind the players, as the highly developed individuals cheer fervently.

In discussing his career, Rockwell commented, "I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. And perhaps, therefore, this is one function of the illustrator. He can show what has become so familiar that it is no longer noticed. The illustrator thus becomes a chronicler of his time." (as quoted in Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, p. xii) With The Dugout Rockwell succeeds not only in chronicling his time, but also in capturing the nostalgia associated with baseball. This masterwork brought a national pastime home to houses across America and continues to do so for today's viewer.

Though much like the actual Cubs, this was a bit of a disappointment. The piece was expected to fetch $700,000 - $1,000,000. Art imitating life yet again.

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This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on December 2, 2009 3:06 PM.

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