Breaking Home Ties, The Saturday Evening Post cover, September 25, 1954.
"I once did a cover showing a father seeing his son off to college. That year my three boys had gone away and I'd had an empty feeling it took me a while to adjust without them. This poignancy was what I wanted to get across in the picture...I put a funny kind of suit on the boy because he was a ranch boy leaving home for the first time I got most of my fan letters about the dog. You see the father couldn't show how he felt about the boy's leaving. The dog did." -Norman Rockwell
Placing second after Saying Grace in a Saturday Evening Post readers popularity poll, Breaking Home Ties has always held the admiration of the general public. Art critics who have criticized Rockwell's painting for its sentimentality, however, have expressed appreciation of this work for its emotional realism and its technical mastery.
In 2006, an amazing discovery was made when the painting believed to be the original was identified as a replica. The original painting was found behind a secret wall in the home of the painting's owner, the late cartoonist and artist Don Trachte of the comic strip Henry in Arlington, VT.