Rockwell's After the Prom up 13.1% pa following $9.1m auction

Norman Rockwell's After the Prom has sold within estimate for $9.1m to lead Sotheby's American Art auction in New York.

In doing so the 1957 work has increased in value by 13.1% pa from its $880,000 sale in 1995, becoming the fourth most valuable Rockwell ever sold in the process.

Norman Rockwell After the Prom
The fourth most valuable Rockwell ever auctioned

Its strong showing can be attributed, in part, to its appearance on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 25, 1957.

Rockwell's (1894-1978) ever increasing mass appeal has seen his original works much coveted at auction of late.

His record was set in December, when Saying Grace sold for $46m at Sotheby's - more than doubling its estimate.

It too had appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.

The present auction also saw Rockwell's Willie Gillis in Convoy make $2.3m. The work was discovered in storage at a school in Massachusetts; Rockwell had gifted the piece to the principal in 1951.

Willie Gillis Norman Rockwell
Willie Gillis: a regular theme in Rockwell's work

Soldier Gillis was a recurring character in Rockwell's wartime depictions for the Post. This example, however, never found its way into publication.

Rockwell's The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room) auctions at Christie's New York today.

Away from the Rockwells, there was a new record for Milton Avery (1885-1965). His previously unknown March and Sally Outdoors sold for $5.7m, demolishing its $3m high estimate.

There was also a strong showing from Georgia O'Keeffe's Lake George Barn. Last seen publicly in 1989, it beat its high estimate of $1.5m, selling for $2.5m.

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