Need Repairs, Winchendon American Legion Post Selling Original Normal Rockwell Painting – NECN


On a busy road in Winchendon, Massachusetts, the American Legion Post 193 has stood the test of time. The weather, however, is now starting to show.

“It takes a lot more than a little TLC,” said Ken LaBreck, with the post.

Everywhere you look, something inside the building needs to be fixed. Decades of use are now catching up at the worst times.

The Post’s main sources of revenue – memberships and the rental of its large hall for events – crashed during the pandemic and still have not rebounded.

“It’s a big facility, it’s a nice facility, it has a lot of bills, and when you don’t have the income to pay those bills, the next thing you know, we won’t be there anymore,” he said. said Mark Desmarais.

While the American Legion Post was short of funds, it had a secret – a secret that could turn into a solution.

When the building was first constructed, members dispersed throughout the community of Winchendon in search of funds for the new building.

Carol May Grout says that at one stop her father walked inside to meet with the community’s Catholic priest. The dad donated $ 500 and told Grout’s dad to choose a painting from his collection on the floor.

Grout says the painting of a mother and adult son, dressed in military gear, spoke to his father and he chose that one.

For years the painting hung in the Post above the main staircase. After about 30 years, a man attending an event at the Post Office offered members $ 500 for it.

They refused and decided to take a closer look. It turns out the painting is an original Norman Rockwell.

“Oh that stopped my heart!” said Aviva Lehmann of Heritage Auctions.

Lehmann knows the art and says demand for original Rockwell paintings remains high.

Knowing this, last summer the Post began deliberating on selling the painting. It was not an easy discussion.

“There will be a lot of tears from me because I was raised around this painting,” Grout said. “It’s very hard for me.”

The painting, titled “Home For Thanksgiving,” is now up for auction. Live auctions will begin on Friday afternoon. Lehmann says it will bring in at least $ 4 million.

“I think Friday, when it finally comes up for auction and the hammer is sold, it’s going to be tough,” LaBreck said.

The Post says he has met with a financial advisor before and has a strict plan for how he will handle any product. This plan is to never touch the principal and use the interest to start tackling the long list of problems to be solved in the mail.

Feelings here are mixed. Many are relieved to start repairing this building, even though the cost is no longer to own an iconic work of art.

“There will be tears on Friday but it’s done, we are moving in the right direction and I hope and expect my dad to agree,” said Grout.

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