Richly Detailed Drawing Hails from Rockwell's Key World War II Years.
In 1944, the World was very much at war, and Norman Rockwell created poignant views of how the war was affecting both the American "Citizen Soldier," and life on the home front.
For The Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell created his own "G. I. Joe," a young soldier named Willie Gillis, a figure who expressed a determined, yet good-natured attitude to his military duty.
"There's no doubt that this fantastic cover study for 'Little Girl Observing Lovers on a Train' hails from a key period in Rockwell's career," said Don Mangus, Heritage Senior Illustration Art Expert. "Always a consummate perfectionist, Rockwell rendered this detailed drawing before painting the final cover scene for the August 12, 1944 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The intricate composition and precisionist rendering of this masterwork is magnificent."
Rockwell's typical working method was to pose live models and draw them, often over a period of several days.
"Rockwell avoided using professional models, and instead would seek out everyday people to stage scenes of pure Americana," Mangus said. "An inscription on this drawing indicates that the part of the sleeping soldier in this tender tableau may have been modeled by Private William Schmidt. As a result, our consignor wrote Rockwell in 1971 to find out more about the soldier. Unfortunately, too much time had passed and Rockwell could not recall many details about Private Schmidt. This signed letter adds a nice touch to the provenance of this piece." The work is fully documented in Norman Rockwell A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Moffatt.
Any work by Norman Rockwell is highly sought after, and this museum-quality drawing is sure to garner much collector interest. Cover studies of similar quality have sold in the range of $125,000 - $250,000. This drawing is estimated at $120,000 - $180,000, and is being sold without reserve.
"Those interested in this sensational cover study, and all the other classic Illustration Art in our upcoming auction, should visit our website, HA.com," Mangus said, "where they can see enlargeable, full-color images of each lot, read our complete and informative catalog descriptions, and even place their bids online from the comfort and convenience of their home or office."