Unknown Norman Rockwell Painting Auctioned October 23 Has Connection With Hohner Harmonicas

Share Article

A previously unknown work by Norman Rockwell of a young man playing a harmonica entitled "That Musical Pal of Mine." was recently auctioned by Pennsylvania auctioneers Pook & Pook Inc. The painting was commissioned by the Vice President and General Manager of Hohner's U.S. operation in the 1920s which is of his son.

Are harmonicas as American as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Norman Rockwell? Unknown Norman Rockwell paintings don't surface very often, so when Pennsylvania auctioneers Pook & Pook Inc. offered a previously unknown work by Rockwell as part of their auction on October 23, they gave it top billing by putting it on their cover. The circular painting is of a young man playing a harmonica, and is titled "That Musical Pal of Mine." The bidding was sold to an unknown bidder for $32,000 plus a 17% commission.

After receiving calls from a Rockwell historian and the Norman Rockwell Museum, Hohner, Inc. realized that they had played a role. William J. Haussler, Vice President and General Manager of Hohner's U.S. operation in the 1920s, commissioned the portrait, which is of his son, William Haussler, Jr. A family member offered it for auction. The image is closely related to the "Hohner Boy" which appeared on Hohner posters, counter displays and book covers starting in about 1924. The "Hohner Boy" is also a portrait of Haussler's son, as documented in an issue of The Music Trade Review of May 17, 1924. The "Hohner Boy" posters are the work of Einson-Freeman Co., Inc., lithographers. The posters, displays and book covers have a definite connection to the Rockwell image - the subject and the pose are nearly identical, and the counter display even includes the words "That Musical Pal of Mine." The question remains of which came first, the "Hohner Boy" or the Rockwell?

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Andrew Garrigue
Visit website