Painting stolen from New Jersey home in 1976
Purchased for $50, painting could now be worth $1 million
More than 40 years after it was stolen from a Cherry Hill, New Jersey, residence, a Norman Rockwell painting has returned home.
The FBI returned the painting – known variously as “Taking a Break,” “Boy Asleep with Hoe” or simply “Lazybones” – to the six children of Robert and Therese Grant, from whose house it was stolen in 1976.
“It brings back a lot of memories — happy memories,” Susan Murta, daughter of the Grants, told CNN Saturday. “We’re thrilled it’s back where it belongs.”
The work, which once adorned the cover of a 1919 edition of the Saturday Evening Post, came to the Grant family by accident.
According to Murta, her father purchased the painting from a pool hall after accidentally puncturing the canvas with a pool cue.
“I remember him telling me it was $50,” she said of the price.
CNN affiliate KYW reported that the painting could now be worth $1 million, the hole from Robert Grant’s pool cue notwithstanding.
Murta said the FBI informed her in the fall that the painting had been located. She didn’t see it with her own eyes, however, until Friday.
“I think it’s better than I remember it,” she said.
Murta said that as she was growing up, the painting hung proudly in every house the family moved to and the Rockwell was in the background of years of family photos.
However, the six Grant children have yet to decide where the painting’s new home will be.
“We put it in storage,” Murta said. “We don’t know what to do with it.”
“I think it was hanging in someone’s house,” she said. “It needs to be cleaned.”
The painting was recovered by agents with the FBI’s Art Crime Team. In a statement, the bureau’s Philadelphia field office said the team had been aided by a person who wished to remain anonymous.
“This individual is not believed to have been involved in the painting’s theft and is not expected to face any charges,” the statement read.