Norman Rockwell art allegedly

One of Norman Rockwell’s most famous paintings is of a happy family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. Now, a family feud has sparked a legal battle after one of its members saw the artist’s original drawing hanging in the White House on a 2017 television program — artwork he believed to be his. Owned.

The story of the controversial artwork begins in 1943, when Rockwell created a set of sketches called “So You Want to See the President” that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, where he served for 47 years. The artist worked. The year. According to legal documents, that same year, Rockwell married Stephen T. Early Sr., who was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s press secretary, gifted these illustrations.

But what happened next — and who owns the art — has become a controversy, with descendants of the initials fighting over four pieces of art, from military officers to senators, to FDR’s sightings. Several people are shown waiting.

Artist Norman Rockwell painted scenes from the White House in a series of 1943 photographs titled, “So You Want to See the President.” Now, a lawsuit alleges that the descendants of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s press secretary hid the pictures in the White House to “launder” the art and gain full ownership.

Legal filings

While watching a 2017 television interview with former President Donald Trump, Thomas A. Early, one of Stephen Early’s three children, saw the Rockwells hanging in a hall in the West Wing of the White House, the filing in U.S. District Court on Monday showed. According to the lawsuit. For the Eastern District of Virginia.

In watching the TV show, the lawsuit alleges, Thomas A. Early “learned for the first time that the Rockwells were in the White House.” Died early in 2020.

While it’s unclear how the family feud will play out, one thing’s for sure: The Rockwells are likely worth a tidy sum. A Rockwell painting was sold a decade ago. $46 million – although it is unlikely that the disputed pieces will come close to anything, given that they are sketches and drawings.

Art laundering?

The artwork was to be kept at the home of Thomas A. Early’s sister, Helen Early Elm, where the family agreed it should be stored, the lawsuit alleges.

Instead, Helen Early Elam’s son, William Elam, allegedly “took Rockwells to the White House to cover up the removal of his artwork … and to hide Rockwells for a period of time.” His ownership can be ‘laundered’ or ‘washed away’ by the artwork, in an attempt to gain sole ownership,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit claims Elam took the artwork to the White House in 1978 — during the Carter administration — “where they were placed on loan, with the lender listed as ‘anonymous lender.'”

After watching a 2017 TV program, Thomas A. Earley “immediately informed” the White House curator that he owned one-third of the Rockwells and intended to have his share bequeathed to him upon his death. Children should inherit, the lawsuit said. .

The lawsuit does not accuse the White House or any officials of wrongdoing. The White House declined to comment on the “private dispute.” In 2022, Rockwell artwork taken off According to Politico, it was replaced with a picture of President Joe Biden.

“Sole owner”

In a separate lawsuit, William Elam alleges that he is in fact the sole owner of the artwork.

According to Elam’s lawsuit, FDR’s press secretary, Stephen Early, allegedly gave the illustrations to his daughter Helen in 1949 when she was graduating from New York’s Pratt Institute. He then gifted the artwork to his son William, the claim claims.

Elam’s lawsuit also claims that the estate of her uncle Thomas A. Earley, who saw the artwork on TV in 2017, did not include the pictures in his estate list after his uncle’s death in 2020. .

The lawsuit, which claims that Elam hid the art in the White House, is seeking $350,000 in damages as well as a ruling that ownership is shared by the family’s descendants, while Elam’s lawsuit It is saying that the court order that the artwork belongs to him alone.

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