The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called on the Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman to reconsider the sale of the Henry Moore masterpiece, Draped Seated Woman. The Mayor has formally written to Councillor Lutfur Rahman in support of the Museum of London’s request for it to be loaned for display at its Docklands site.
Yesterday a Cross-party Committee raised serious concerns about the ‘inadequate’ process undertaken when a sculpture by the British Modernist artist Henry Moore was put up for auction by the council. Tower Hamlets culturally deficient Mayor, Lutfur Rahman has tonight defied over one and a half thousand petitioners who have called on him not to sell the Henry Moore Sculpture, Draped Seated Woman. At tonight’s Cabinet meeting the Mayor refused to withdraw his decision to put the much loved piece up for auction, even though a cross party scrutiny committee had found real flaws in the process undertaken to draw up the report.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said today: ‘The decision to sell this iconic work by a key British artist is extremely disappointing. Whilst I appreciate that the council needs to find ways to deal with the prevailing economic climate, I believe more could be done to enable Draped Seated Woman to remain in East London.
‘This is a statue that was sold at a bargain price by Henry Moore to the London County Council for the benefit of local people in Tower Hamlets. The Museum of London in Docklands has offered ‘Old Flo’ a home and it will be a tragedy if nothing can be done to ensure it goes back on public display in the borough as originally intended. I urge the council to reconsider and that more time is given to find a solution.’
Olympic Opening Ceremony architect Danny Boyle was among a number of high profile signatories on a recent letter opposing the sale of the sculpture.Tower Hamlets Labour’s Spokesperson for Culture and Heritage , Cllr Denise Jones, said: “Tonight’s decision shows how closed minded the Mayor is. Not only did he refuse to even consider the alternative options for hosting the sculpture, but he announced his decision to sell before hearing from any residents or councillors.
ArtLyst contributor Timbo Davies stated; “Apart from the cultural vandalism, economically you cannot indefinitely balance a revenue budget by selling off all your capital assets. When you’ve sold off all the art, all the public buildings and all the public spaces, you will still have a hole in your budget if there isn’t enough money coming in to do things. The loss of capital assets just makes it harder and harder to borrow. This is not only militant philistinism, it’s also financially illiterate”.