A bronze sculpture by Henry Moore has been stolen from an open air sculpture park in Shawhead, Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. The 1950 work titled ‘Standing Figure’ was one of four Henry Moore masterpieces on display at Glenkiln Sculpture Park. The figure is thought to be worth millions but it is feared that it will be melted down for scrap metal. The police and park officials said the 221cm-tall statue was worth a “high value” but couldn’t be more specific.
The sculpture park also displays important works by Auguste Rodin and Jacob Epstein, in a natural rural setting. The authorities are ‘appealing for anyone who saw any suspicious people or vehicles in the Glenkiln Reservoir area to contact them’.
Standing Figure is the latest in a string of bronze thefts that is baffling the art world. Two men were jailed for a year in 2012, for stealing a sculpture called Sundial from the Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham. The Foundation also carried out a security review following the theft of a two-ton piece called Reclining Figure in December 2005.It has never been recovered.
Moore, a staunch Socialist was a generous benefactor of his work and strongly believed it should be displayed in public settings, giving access to a wider audience. He spoke of the recently stolen work of sculpture in a publication in 1974;
“Sir William Keswick came to me after he had seen this piece in an exhibition (it may have been the second Battersea Park exhibition). He told me about his sheep farm in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and said its large acreage was unsuitable for agricultural farming because the ground was too rocky. I don’t know whether he got the idea to put sculpture on his sheep farm after he saw the Battersea Park open-air exhibition, or whether he was inspired by his experiences in China, where he had lived for many years, and where, he said, there are many examples of monumental sculptures in the open air. In any case, he bought this piece to put on his farm in Scotland… He placed the sculpture himself on an existing outcrop of rock. Later I went up there and was thrilled with the beautiful landscape and at how well he had sited ‘Yon Figure’ (the sculptures local name)”. – Henry Moore(1)
(1) Henry Moore quoted in Henry Moore Looking at his work with Philip James, Visual Publications, London, New York, Toronto 1975: booklet, film strips and two audio cassettes