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Norman Rockwell paintings auctioned at $58 million

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Albany/HV: Norman Rockwell paintings auctioned at $58 million
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Three of Norman Rockwell's most famous paintings were sold a total of nearly $58 million in Sotheby's Wednesday. It's a record for the books. But, the paintings have some local ties. YNN's Madeleine Rivera has more on the story.

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- Sold at record breaking $58 million, three of Norman Rockwell's most famous paintings "Saying Grace," "Gossip" and "Walking to Church" went to some very high bidders at auction.

"They are such powerful paintings," said Stephanie Plunkett, Norman Rockwell Chief Curator.

She has walked by the paintings multiple times because before they were sent to Sotheby's in September, they were on loan at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

"They were part of a collection of Rockwell's Art Editor at the Saturday Evening Post, a man named Ken Stewart," said Plunkett.

Rockwell lived in Stockbridge for several years. His time here is a token of pride in the New England town. His paintings often reflected life in small town America.

"He was fascinated by everyday people. He was interested in their interactions with one another," said Plunkett.

This is seen in the painting "Gossips."

"It's a wonderful portrayal that shows him, his wife Mary, as well as many of his neighbors in Arlington, Vermont," said Plunkett.

The most iconic of the three paintings was "Saying Grace," which fetched about $46 million.

"It's a painting of the everyday man, the small things in life that go unnoticed," said Plunkett.

Perhaps, it is no surprise then why the works picked up so much money.

"They're paintings that are part of the American cultural memory," said Plunkett.

While the paintings will be appreciated by the bidders, Plunkett hopes one day they will make their way back to the Norman Rockwell whether by donation or loan.

"Rockwell was creating art for the masses. And, I think to us, that is the highest purpose of Rockwell's art, to be accessible to a very broad public who loves and appreciates his work," said Plunkett. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP