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Gardner Receives $1.9M From Sale Of Rockwell Painting

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"Willie Gillis in Convoy" by Norman Rockwell (Sotheby's)

“Willie Gillis in Convoy” by Norman Rockwell (Sotheby’s)

BOSTON — The city of Gardner will receive $1.9 million from the sale of a Norman Rockwell painting that once hung in the office of the high school principal.

The 1941 painting, “Willie Gillis in Convoy,” was sold at auction by Sotheby’s on Wednesday for $2.2 million.

Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke said he hopes the money can be used benefit the city schools.

“We’re in the process of setting up a school foundation like many other communities have, except the difference is we’re going to have $1.9 million in seed money,” Hawke told WBUR. “We don’t necessarily need to have the bake sale every week to try to get the $500 to start building this foundation.”

The painting, which depicts a World Ward II solider in the back of a military truck, was given to former Gardner High School principal F. Earl Williams by Rockwell in the 1950s.

It hung in the principal’s office until 2001, when it was hidden over concerns for its safety.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.