The Boy Scouts of America Wants to Sell Dozens of Norman Rockwell Paintings as Part of a Nine-Figure Settlement Fund for Abuse Victims

A filing on Monday includes a list of nearly 60 works by the American master among the scouting organization's holdings.

Boy Scouts saluting the American flag. Photo by William Gottlieb/Corbis via Getty Images.
Boy Scouts saluting the American flag. Photo by William Gottlieb/Corbis via Getty Images.

The Boy Scouts of America is proposing to settle more than 85,000 claims of sexual abuse from former scouts by creating a victims’ fund of at least $300 million, part of which would come from selling a collection of dozens of Norman Rockwell paintings.

The Boy Scouts of America said the organization was “devastated by the number of lives impacted by past abuse in scouting” in a statement last year, when the scale of the complaints came to light.

The plan to sell the art is part of a detailed proposal filed in federal court in Delaware on Monday. Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy last February, during which it claimed more than $1 billion in assets.

Given the organization’s vast resources, lawyer Paul Mones, who represents hundreds of the accusers, told the Los Angeles Times that the proposal was “really disgraceful.”

“Considering the enormity of the problem, are they taking care of survivors as they should?” Mones said. “I don’t think so.”

The filing contains a 38-page list of hundreds of artworks owned by the Boy Scouts, none by artists of anything like Rockwell’s stature. There are nearly 60 Rockwell works alone, though, including oil paintings, prints, and works on paper, ranging in date from 1916 to 1976.

Rockwell’s paintings have commanded major prices at auction. Saying Grace (1951) shattered its $20 million high estimate and fetched $46.1 million at Sotheby’s New York in December 2013, the artist’s current auction record. Four other works have broken the $10 million mark, all since 2006, including Breaking Home Ties (1954), which barreled past its $6 million high estimate, also at Sotheby’s New York, to sell for $15.4 million.


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