Norman Rockwell's 'Country Editor' could fetch up to $15 million for National Press Club

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STOCKBRIDGE — A painting by Norman Rockwell of a small-town American newsroom is going up for auction to benefit the National Press Club.

"Norman Rockwell Visits a Country Editor" could fetch as much as $15 million when it is auctioned off Nov. 19 in New York City, according to Christie's Auction House.

The funds, according to a blog written by club president John Hughes, will benefit the club, as well as the National Press Club Journalism Institute, which offers scholarships and training for journalists.

The painting appeared in the May 25, 1946, issue of the Saturday Evening Post. It depicts Rockwell himself with a large drawing pad, standing at the counter of a bustling small-town paper identified as the Monroe County Appeal, a weekly paper founded in Paris, Mo. in 1867, and still publishing today.

"He did several of these types of paintings, with him at the center" said Margit Hotchkiss, deputy director of business and audience development at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. "I believe eight in all."

The painting was displayed at the museum in 2009, 2010 and just a few weeks ago, said Hotchkiss. The descriptive plate alongside the painting explained that Rockwell did indeed do a series of eight "illustrated journalistic features" for the Post in the 1940s.

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These features took the illustrator to Indiana, Georgia, Missouri, Washington D.C. and New York City.

Rockwell would, he explained on the plate, spend an average of two days at each site, "getting a feel for the place," taking photos and making sketches. He would complete the painting in his studio.

He spent three days in Paris, Mo., detailing the operation of the paper.

Rockwell's visit came shortly after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photos of Roosevelt and his successor, Harry S. Truman, can be seen in the painting.

The painting is being auctioned, Hughes said, in part because of its staggering eight-figure price tag. In the blog, Hughes said the club's board of directors believed the Press Club building did not have the proper security to safeguard such a piece of art.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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