The Norman Rockwell painting titled “Saying Grace” has sold at an auction for a record $46 million. The price is the most ever for a Rockwell painting – and the most for any American artwork at auction.

rockwell-graceThe $46 million price tag was a bit of a shocker, since the pre-sale estimate had been between $15-20. The sale tops Rockwell’s “Breaking Home Ties”, which sold in 2006 for $15 million.

The previous auction record for an American artist was George Bellows’ “Polo Crowd”, which sold for $27.7 million in 1999.

Rockwell was paid $3,500 for “Saying Grace,” which appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post’s Thanksgiving issue in 1951.

Rockwell spent 47 years as an illustrator for the Post, producing 321 covers.