n 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, which resulted in the theft of this work, and six additional Rockwell paintings.
In 1987, the FBI closed the case because there were no more leads; then She's My Baby and a Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration 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 the stolen property. 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.
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 coming to an end, 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 could almost have been modeled 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 rough shoe leather and velvety hats. The Post had just begun publishing full color covers the previous year, in 1926, and Rockwell was able to use color to offset the characters with complimentary hues.