Arts

Norman Rockwell Painting Owned by Debbie Reynolds Going Up for Auction

The painting of Ben Franklin had been on loan to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.
Debbie Reynolds

Photo via AP

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge may have to part ways with one of its pieces soon. A painting of Ben Franklin by the artist had been on loan to the museum for years from a very famous source: Debbie Reynolds. The actress, who passed away in December, first lent the piece to the museum seven years ago, and it’s now on the auction block, alongside some 1,500 other items that belonged to her or her daughter, actress and writer Carrie Fisher.

The painting first appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1926, and “is a full-length portrait of Franklin leaning on a desk, quill pen in hand,” according to the Boston Globe. The auction house managing the sale estimates it could go for $3 million.

Here’s a thought: If you’re the type of person who has $3 million to spend on a Norman Rockwell painting formerly owned by a celebrity, could you perhaps also be the type of person who would let it stay on loan to a museum? If you keep it in your house, only a few people know you own a Norman Rockwell painting. But if you loan it to a museum, then thousands of people know you own it! Plus, Rockwell lived in the Berkshires for decades. It’s practically the natural habitat for Rockwell paintings.


Lisa Weidenfeld Digital Senior Editor at Boston Magazine lweidenfeld@bostonmagazine.com


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