It's one of Norman Rockwell's most beloved pieces thanks to its warmth and quaint beauty, but "Stockbridge Mainstreet at Christmas" is actually based on a real-life string of boutique stores in the heart of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The painting, which was first published in McCall's magazine in 1967, is seen as an homage to the picturesque New England town that Rockwell worked and lived in for many years; according to the Boston Globe, the town has since opened the Norman Rockwell Museum and many local businesses that celebrate the artist's work every single day. A few of the institutions depicted in the painting (like the Red Lion Inn) actually join forces with the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce to recreate Rockwell's festive scene each year. But if you've ever dreamed of living in a scene straight out of a painting, one of the storied buildings is now up for sale, per the Globe.
Courtesy of Sotheby's International Reality / William Pitt Agency
Listed as 44 Main Street, the property can be seen in Rockwell's painting as the second building from the left, and most of its original wooden facade and stained glass details are still intact. The three-story Victorian building, originally built in 1870, houses a small antique shop, an insurance office, and a gift shop for visitors who travel to Stockbridge to see Rockwell's scene first hand. The building is currently listed at a cool $1,795,000, but it may be a small price for art fanatics to pay; Steven Weisz, one of the property's listing agents, tells the Globe that Rockwell once lived in a studio just two doors down from the property. The renowned artist was also known to stop into the building's antique shop, once owned by Harriet Sossner.
According to the painting's listing on the Norman Rockwell Museum's website, the real-life building seen here and the town of Stockbridge does enjoy a few distinct differences from Rockwell's artistic interpretation. The illustration incorporates visual influences from the surrounding Berkshire Hills, seasonal scenes in Vermont, and even Switzerland, to complete his panoramic landscape in the background of the painting. "For the warm interior glows, he studied magazine images of candlelit country homes," the website reads. "Rockwell's assistant Louie Lamone photographed each building from a frontal point of view in support of Rockwell's concept to create an artwork in the style of a 19th century limner documenting the important aspects of the town."
While it's clear that Rockwell manipulated his sense of Stockbridge to make his classic masterpiece, the charm of 44 Main Street is undeniable. It's been maintained by the same owners since the 1960s, when Rockwell himself strolled down Main Street, and they're hoping to place this piece of artistic history in great hands. "[It's] a true 'once in a life-time opportunity' to be part of Stockbridge history."