2015-08-06 / Mainsheet

American Culture Honored at Museum Gala

Photos by Allan Millora


Matt Lauer Matt Lauer The National Museum of American Illustration celebrated its 15th anniversary on Thursday, July 30, with a fundraising gala and benefit auction. The highlight of the evening’s auction was the sale of a Norman Rockwell portrait of John F. Kennedy before 330 guests. The painting was published on the cover of the April 6, 1963 issue of the Saturday Evening Post and sold for $900,000.

The evening also featured the American Civilization Awards, which honor notable laureates for the contributions they have made to popular American culture. Receiving awards this year were the host of NBC’s "Today" show, Matt Lauer; actress and children’s author Evangeline Lilly; and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Paul Szep.

The monumental Rockwell portrait of JFK was in good company. Also offered at the live auction was John Falter’s “Game Not Called on Account of Darkness,” an exciting baseball image that sold for $55,000, and a J.C. Leyendecker study of a young girl holding her doll, executed in preparation for his July 19, 1913 Saturday Evening Post cover, which sold for $14,000. Many artworks by notable illustrators were sold in a silent auction which ran throughout the evening. In the silent bidding, another Falter painting, of himself and his wife running into the Maine surf, sold for $25,000.


Geraldo Rivera and Melinda Godel Geraldo Rivera and Melinda Godel Enthusiasts from as far afield as Shanghai and Prague were in the mix of NMAI supporters, which also included locals and semi-locals from New York and Boston. “We are thrilled with the outpouring of support we have received through this event,” said NMAI Director Judy Cutler, “and are particularly grateful for the auction's success. The funds raised will help the NMAI’s endowment fund to ensure this wonderful collection remains on display at Vernon Court.”


Judy and Laurence Cutler with American Civilization Award recipient, Evangeline Lilly Judy and Laurence Cutler with American Civilization Award recipient, Evangeline Lilly The NMAI is a nonprofit, independent, educational, and aesthetic organization located at Vernon Court on Bellevue Avenue. It is the first national museum devoted exclusively to illustration art, artworks created to be reproduced in books, periodicals, art prints, posters, and advertisements.



Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), Portrait of President John F. Kennedy, 1963, oil on canvas, 22” x 18”, signed lower right, Saturday Evening Post, April 6, 1963 cover Sold for $900,000 Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), Portrait of President John F. Kennedy, 1963, oil on canvas, 22” x 18”, signed lower right, Saturday Evening Post, April 6, 1963 cover Sold for $900,000

“Game Not Called on Account of Darkness,” by John Falter “Game Not Called on Account of Darkness,” by John Falter

Ruth Pointer and Ali Sayles Ruth Pointer and Ali Sayles

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