Tower Hamlets Council are to sell off an important Henry Moore sculpture in order to pay for front-line services. it was decided that it could no longer keep the sculpture safe from scrap metal thieves, on council property.
Draped Seated Woman was valued at at least £17m earlier this year. The council said the rising threat of metal theft and vandalism made it too expensive to insure if it was on show. The sculpture was bought by the former London County Council for £6,000 in 1960but has recently found a home in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
In 1962 It was installed in the Stifford council estate, but was vandalised and moved to the Yorkshire in 1997. “We are faced with a stark choice in these times of recession” stated, Lutfur Rahman Tower Hamlets mayor. A council spokesperson said: “With unprecedented cuts to council budgets, the council finds itself in a difficult situation and being forced to make hard decisions. “As the borough does not have the funds required to insure or maintain the upkeep of the work, releasing these necessary funds will enable the council to support front-line services.” Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman added: “It is with great regret that I take this decision but we are faced with a stark choice in these times of recession.” as reported by the BBC
The sculpture is to be auctioned by Christie’s in February unless an offer comes forward privately . It will unlikely be granted an export licence if the buyer is from abroad. Richard Calvocoressi, director of the Henry Moore Foundation, said he sympathised with the council’s position but added that it would be “very sad” if the sculpture was no longer on public display.
Henry Moore was born in West Yorkshire, England in 1898 and died in East Hertfordshire, England in 1986. His public commissions occupy university campuses, pastoral expanses and major urban centers in 38 countries around the world. His sculpture and drawings have been the subject of many museum exhibitions and retrospectives, including the Tate Gallery, London (1951); Whitechapel Gallery, London (1957); Tate Gallery, London (1968); Forte di Belvedere, Florence (1972); Tate Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery, London for the occasion of Moore’s eightieth birthday (1978); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1983); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (1987); Royal Academy of Arts (1988); Shanghai Art Museum (2001); Henry Moore, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (2001); CaixaForum, Barcelona, (2008); Kunsthal, Rotterdam (2006, travelled to Didrichsen Museum, Helsinki in 2008); Kew Botanical Gardens, London (2007-8); Tate Britain (2010); Kremlin Museum, Moscow (2012).