On February 16, 1978, over 500 people attended the private opening of the exhibition, Norman Rockwell Retrospective, at the Elayne Galleries, St. Louis Park, Minnesota. It featured She's My Baby and other original Rockwell paintings. Later that night, a well-planned robbery transpired resulting in seven Rockwell paintings being stolen.
In 1987, the FBI closed the case because there were no more leads but felt organized crime was involved in the theft. She's My Baby and a Brown & Bigelow calendar piece surfaced at a Philadelphia art gallery in December 1998. A man from Brazil was trying to have the artwork authenticated and appraised by the gallery's owner , George Turak. Realizing the art was stolen, Turak notified the FBI who seized them. The investigation was reopened and the remaining missing Rockwell paintings were eventually recovered.
Read Bruce Rubenstein's article, The Heist featured in the Minnesota Monthly November 2010 issue for more information. Click here
View the other original Rockwell paintings taken in the theft in the slideshow below .
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) She's My Baby, Norman Rockwell, 1927. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, May 10, 1927. Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Young Jr. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN
On May 10, 1927, the movie She's My Baby, about a couple whose blissful marriage turns sour but is later saved, debuted. At the time, Rockwell's marriage with his first wife, Irene O'Connor was disintegrating, which may have inspired him to use the movie title for his June 4, 1927 Saturday Evening Post cover. The figures in She's My Baby belong to children but the hands and feet of the boy seem to have been posed for by Rockwell himself, suggesting identification with the boy.
Rockwell creates a variety of textures and patterns that lead the viewer's eye from the paint brush, to the heart symbol, and to the girl's face. The sheen on the girl's raincoat and curls is contrasted by the rough shoe leather and velvety hats. Along with the new coloring process used to print magazines, Rockwell was able to use color to offset the characters with complimentary shades.