Was George Lucas the Buyer of Norman Rockwell’s $46 Million ‘Saying Grace’ at Sotheby’s?

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art may have bagged another prize.

George Lucas addresses the Investment Company Institute's annual general membership meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel May 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Norman Rockwell’s painting Saying Grace (1951) made headlines when it more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $46 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2013, setting an auction record for the artist that still stands today.

Now the painting is in the news again, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the big spender was none other than George Lucas. If that’s right, the painting is likely headed for the Star Wars director’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, in which the founder says he’s already invested $1 billion.

Rendering for the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Chicago. Courtesy of MAD Architects.

Rendering for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Chicago. Courtesy of MAD Architects.

The Lucas Museum has for years been in search of a home, with San Francisco and Chicago vying for the prize.

When Rockwell’s painting went to auction, it had been off the market for five decades, in the hands of the family of Ken Stuart, the art editor for the Saturday Evening Post, which featured the work on its Thanksgiving cover in 1951. The popular paper had polled its readers on their favorite work by the American master, and some 32 percent chose Saying Grace.

The $46 million record is more than double the next-highest price fetched for a work by Rockwell, according to the artnet Price Database, which indicates his next-highest price as $22.6 million, fetched by The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room), a 1957 canvas, at Christie’s New York in 2014.

The Lucas Museum did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the purchase.

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