Norman Rockwell print turns out to be original painting

Earlier this year, one lucky family discovered that the framed Norman Rockwell print they’d had for years was actually an original oil on paper.

The piece is a study for a painting titled Tough Call, which appeared on the cover of the April 23, 1949 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.

Rockwell Tough Call

Rockwell has inscribed the study to baseball umpire 'Beans' Reardon 

This study is made out to baseball umpire “Beans” Reardon - the man in the centre of the painting holding out his hand.

Rockwell writes: "My best wishes to 'Beans' Reardon, the greatest umpire ever lived, Sincerely, Norman Rockwell."

This version of this painting is actually much closer to Rockwell’s vision than the one printed for the Post, as the publication altered colours and added in some brooding clouds.

Rockwell was incensed and insisted the publication leave his work alone in future.

Now the work is valued in excess of $300,000 ahead of its sale at the August 19-20 Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction.

Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, said: "The Rockwell discovery is a wonderful story and we expect this work to do quite well considering the broad interest across sports, art and Rockwell enthusiasts.”

The auction will feature a wealth of baseball memorabilia from across the sport’s long history, including a 1937 Yankees jersey worn by Lou Gehrig in his final season.

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