Stolen sculpture found

A bronze Henry Moore sculpture missing from a New York gallery for nearly 10 years recently turned up at the doorstep of a Yorkville art dealer.

When a man came into her gallery with the $80,000 (U.S.) sculpture in March, Miriam Shiell, owner of Miriam Shiell Fine Art, checked with the Art Loss Register, an organization that documents and recovers missing art. When Shiell found the piece had been reported stolen, she contacted the organization.

The three-piece bronze sculpture, dubbed Maquette No. 4, was reported missing in 2001 by the James Goodman Gallery in New York City, said Patsy Tompkins, the gallery’s executive director.

“It’s a very rare occurrence when something is stolen, to get it back. I’m delighted and quite surprised,” said Tompkins.

Shiell said the steps she took to verify the missing art’s authenticity are typical in her line of work.

“Any professional art dealer who is careful about what they do and diligent would do just that, which is go back to the original foundation and archive of the artist and cover the basis of the Art Loss Register,” said Shiell. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

Art doesn’t disappear, said Shiell, and though it may take decades, sooner or later the pieces resurface.

“Very seldom does it get destroyed because people know it’s got an intrinsic value and therefore they will look after it,” she said.

Ironically, Tompkins believes the sculpture may have originally been missing from Toronto before it became in the possession of the James Goodman Gallery. However, the gallery has no proof, as it was never reported missing or stolen.

Tompkins said the sculpture currently belongs to their insurance company who took it as a claim and the gallery is in negotiations to essentially buy it back.

A police investigation is ongoing.

About this article:

By: Matthew Cohen
Posted: Apr 8 2010 1:39 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto