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1972 Norman Rockwell Signed Print - Tough Call
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $2,962.50
Original signed print of what is arguably Norman Rockwell's most famous baseball piece: Tough Call. The memorable image, which was featured on the cover of the April 23, 1949, edition of the Saturday Evening Post, pictures three umpires huddling together at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field to discuss whether or not they should call the game between the Dodgers and visiting Pirates. As noted on the scoreboard, the Pirates are leading 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning as the rain begins to fall, or let up, depending on the observer's point of view. The print has been signed by Rockwell in black felt-tip pen (grading "9/10") along the bottom white border. The printing along the base reads "Norman Rockwell/Tough Call/Painted for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post of April 23, 1949." As noted on the website of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Rockwell painted this image in his California studio based on a number of photographs he had taken at Ebbets Field. The umpires pictured here are, from left to right, Larry Goetz, Beans Reardon, and Lou Jorda. Behind the umpires are Dodgers coach Clyde Sukeforth and Pirates manager Billy Meyer. Interestingly, Rockwell was upset with the published image because a house artist at the Saturday Evening Post lightened the clouds and darkened the Pirates uniforms. (It was not the first time his work had been altered and resulted in a strongly worded letter from Rockwell to the art editor that ultimately effected a change of protocol at the magazine.) This is one of fifteen signed Rockwell prints that was included in Norman Rockwell/A Suite of Fifteen Color Prints of Saturday Evening Post Covers, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in 1972. The print (19 x 25 inches) displays three miniscule areas of light toning along the right border. It is otherwise in apparent Near Mint condition. The print has been matted and framed in such a way as to cover most of the blank bottom border with the exception of the descriptive text. Total dimensions: 26.5 x 30 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $2,962.50
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