GARDNER (CBS) – A painting that hung in the Gardner High School principal’s office for nearly 50 years is headed to the auction block and it’s expected to sell for close to $2 million.

The 1941 painting “Willie Gillis in Convoy” was a gift from Norman Rockwell to former principal Earl Williams in the 1950’s.  It hung in the principal’s office until 2001. It has been stashed away in storage for the last 13 years.

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The Rockwell original depicts a World War II soldier in the back of a truck with several comrades.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Rod Fritz reports

The painting was part of a series for the Saturday Evening Post, but this particular one never made the cover.

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Jeremy Clowe, manager of media services at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, says they didn’t even know this particular painting existed.

“It’s a beautiful picture. I was really kind of bowled over by it,” Clowe said.

The painting will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York on May 21.

Gardner’s mayor and school officials hope the money can be used to set up a foundation to benefit schools.

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