Who nabbed a $1M Norman Rockwell painting from a Queens storage unit?

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MASPETH, Queens (PIX11) — He’s known as the “Dickens of the Paintbrush.” Norman Rockwell was an American artist known for his many illustrations and paintings that were featured on the Saturday Evening Post magazine.

Marilyn Cohen, who is an adjunct faculty member at Parsons The New School for Design, teaches about Rockwell’s famous works in some of her classes..Because of artist’s popularity, she wasn’t surprised someone would want to steal the Rockwell classic that was lifted from the Welpak Art moving and storage facility in Maspeth, Queens.

Police are investigating how the 1939 painting, called “Sport,” that was one of his works featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, went missing from the high-security unit on Sept. 13.

The facility, which holds art from private collectors, vendors, and even museums, boasts on their website about their commitment, service and professionalism and state-of-the-art security systems. The company refused to comment on the theft when PIX11 visited the storage house.

The 22 inch by 28 inch painting, which shows a fisherman smoking a pipe in pouring rain, had been sold to an unidentified owner in May by the auction house Sotheby’s—which confirmed with PIX11 that it went for more than $1 million.

The oil painting was also signed by the famed artist, who died in 1978, making the piece even more valuable.

Several other Rockwell pieces are due to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in December, with one looking to sell for more than $20 million.

Police are still looking for the thief who stole the pricey piece and are asking anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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