FBI agents stand next to Rockwell’s stolen painting in Philadelphia on March 31, 2017 © Matt Rourke/AP

It was over 40 years ago in 1976 that Norman Rockwell’s “Boy Asleep with Hoe” was stolen from a private home in New Jersey, sparking an international investigation that remained unsolved — until 2017.

Widely covered by both domestic and international publications, the nighttime theft of Norman Rockwell’s “Boy Asleep with Hoe” has remained one of the art world’s biggest mysteries. In 1976, thieves broke into the Cherry Hill, New Jersey, home of Robert Grant and stole the work, which is estimated to be worth between $600,000 and $1 million today. After a thorough investigation was completed with no recovery, Chubb Insurance paid the owner’s claim and acquired the painting’s title.

It was with great pleasure that Chubb Insurance announced the painting’s recovery just a few weeks ago. “Recovered art is often valued at a greater amount than a similar piece, given its unique provenance,” suggested Fran O’Brien, senior vice president of Chubb Group and division president of Chubb’s North America Personal Risk Services. “While many often assume a piece is out of harm’s way upon recovery, its newfound high-profile status and value can invite new exposures.

“Existing insurance coverage based on an outdated appraisal, for example, may not provide sufficient protection moving forward.”

The Grant family has returned the claims payment to Chubb in exchange for the painting. Chubb has stated it will donate those funds to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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