In 1973 a Norman Rockwell painting titled "Russian Schoolroom" was stolen from a small Missouri art gallery. Yesterday it was revealed to be in the possession of Steven Spielberg. Fortunately the director had nothing to do with the crime, as he bought the painting from an art dealer in 1989. The possession was realized a few weeks ago when the FBI issued a special bulletin about the work and one of Spielberg's staff recognized the painting as one of the many Rockwell's in the director's collection.

Apparently Spielberg is one of Rockwell's biggest fans (after my mother, I'd wager), enough that he helped found the artist's museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts -- he is currently on the museum's board of trustees and holds the title of third vice president. I have trouble believing that someone so connected to Rockwell's work could have no knowledge of owning a painting that has been underground for 34 years, but then I also have trouble believing that Spielberg could ever have an impure thought, let alone ignore the fact that he purchases stolen goods. The most interesting thing is that the FBI is allowing Spielberg to hold on to the painting because it is believed to be in safe hands.

Norman Rockwell, who should now be given a Capra-like biopic courtesy of Spielberg, has been receiving a good share of headlines lately. Last year Rockwell fans were stunned to discover that the publicly accepted version of "Breaking Home Ties" was a copy. The original had been hidden inside a wall for possibly -- get this -- 34 years, and the fake had likely been made by its owner, Donald Trachte Sr., who was also known for drawing the comic strip "Henry."
categories Movies, Cinematical