Three Norman Rockwell works sell for almost $60 million
Visitors look at the original Norman Rockwell painting entitled 'Breaking Home Ties' on April 7, 2006, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. [AFP]

Three oil paintings by Norman Rockwell, the celebrated 20th century master illustrator of everyday life in America, sold Wednesday for almost $60 million, setting a new record for the artist.

The best known, "Saying Grace" (1951) that shows an elderly woman and boy bowing their heads in prayer at a restaurant, sold for $46.08 million at Sotheby's.

That was more than double the estimated high sale price, and more than three times Rockwell's prior record of $15.4 million for "Breaking Home Ties" in 2006.

Rockwell, who was born in 1894 and died in 1978, captured the life of ordinary Americans and small towns.

He was also known for his long relationship with the "The Saturday Evening Post" for which he did 322 covers between 1916 and 1963. He also illustrated legendary American tales by Mark Twain.

Another Rockwell work -- "The Gossips" -- sold for $8.45 million Wednesday, while "Walking to Church" fetched $3.24 million.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]