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1949 Saturday Evening Post Advertising Poster (Norman Rockwell Cover Art) - Tough Call
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $415
Rare point-of-sale advertising poster, issued in promotion of the April 23, 1949, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, featuring Norman Rockwell's classic baseball artwork titled Tough Call. This poster, which is simply a larger print of the magazine's cover, was issued to newsstand dealers for promotional display during the week of publication. This was a common practice, and many different posters were issued by Saturday Evening Post over the years. All are rare, and while examples can be found, finding a poster advertising a particular issue is naturally difficult. Because they were printed on thin paper stock, and were only used for a one-week period, few of these advertising posters have survived. This is the first example of this highly desirable Rockwell cover poster we have ever handled, and we cannot recall having seen another.
Tough Call, which pictures three umpires huddling together at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field to discuss whether or not they should call the game between the Dodgers and visiting Pirates, is perhaps Rockwell's most famous baseball artwork and one of the most memorable of his numerous Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations. As noted on the website of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Rockwell painted this image in his California studio based on a number of photographs he had taken at Ebbets Field. The umpires pictured here are, from left to right, Larry Goetz, Beans Reardon, and Lou Jorda. Behind the umpires are Dodgers coach Clyde Sukeforth and Pirates manager Billy Meyer. Interestingly, Rockwell was upset with the published image because a house artist at the Saturday Evening Post lightened the clouds and darkened the Pirates uniforms. (It was not the first time his work had been altered and resulted in a strongly worded letter from Rockwell to the art editor that ultimately effected a change of protocol at the magazine.) The original painting of Tough Call resides in the permanent collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame, making this vintage advertising print the next best alternative for any collector wishing to obtain a copy of Rockwell's most celebrated baseball artwork.
The poster (21.25 x 27.75 inches), which is lettered "Litho in U.S.A April 23-49" in the lower left corner, has a vertical and horizontal fold, as issued, and is otherwise in apparent Near Mint condition. Framed to total dimensions of 23 x 29.5 inches. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $415
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