Multi-million dollar Norman Rockwell masterpiece to be sold at a - FOX 32 News Chicago

Multi-million dollar Norman Rockwell masterpiece to be sold at auction

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Susanin's, the Midwest's largest fine art auction house, announced that it will offer the rare and iconic Norman Rockwell painting, Willie Gillis: Package From Home, at auction in Chicago on December 1, 2012 at 1 p.m. The 1941 painting is the first of a series for the Saturday Evening Post that followed the fictional Willie Gillis through his WWII 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 Rockwells, which uniquely demonstrates 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 on October 4, 1941.

The near life-size oil portrait portrays a wet-behind-the-ears army private cradling a care package from 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. The auction estimate for Willie Gillis: Package From Home is between $3 million to $5 million.

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