CHICAGO — Susanin’s, the Midwest’s largest fine art auction house, announced Nov. 12 that it will offer the iconic Norman Rockwell painting, “Willie Gillis: Package From Home,” at auction in Chicago Dec. 1, 2012, at 1 p.m. CST. The 1941 painting is the first of a series for the Saturday Evening Post that followed the fictional Willie Gillis through his World War II U.S. military service.
“This is an extremely rare and important piece of American history, both culturally and socially,” stated Sean Susanin, co-founder of Susanin’s. “We are thrilled it will be sold here in Chicago. It is certainly one of the finest Rockwell paintings, uniquely demonstrating the artist’s unmatched ability to tell a complex story through simple, compelling images.”
Like Rosie the Riveter, which Rockwell also created, Willie Gillis became a WWII icon. “Willie Gillis: Package From Home” was first published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post Oct. 4, 1941. The near life-size oil portrait portrays a wet-behind-the-ears army private cradling a care package stamped “FOOD – No Delay!” The young Willie is closely tailed by a determined crowd of hungry war buddies and ranking officers. The original painting has not been seen in public viewing for decades.
Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” sold at auction in 2002 for nearly $5 million. In 2006, Rockwell’s “Breaking Home Ties” fetched a record-setting $15.4 million from an anonymous buyer.
“Willie Gillis: Package from Home” is a highlight of Susanin’s Dec. 1, 2012 fine art and estate jewelry auction. The live auction begins at 1 p.m. CST. The auction preview runs Nov. 26-30.
Learn more about Susanin’s and its Dec. 1.