Barbara Hepworth

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Barbara Hepworth

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:50 am

Scrap metal theft in the UK is completely out of control, with thousands of yards of copper signal cabelling stolen from trackside every week, causing endless service disruption. Now it appears that public artworks are the new target of rogue scrap metal dealers. This story is from Nash's back yard.
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Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from London park

Thieves took bronze work, possibly with resale of the metal in mind, after apparently driving into Dulwich park in the night

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 20 December 2011 13.39 GMT


Barbara Hepworth's Two Forms (Divided Circle) in Dulwich park. Photograph: Southwark council

A heavy bronze Barbara Hepworth sculpture which has brought pleasure to park visitors for more than 40 years has been stolen overnight by suspected metal thieves.

Staff at Dulwich park in south London came across the crime on Tuesday morning. The thieves apparently drove up to the sculpture after gaining entry by breaking the padlock of the park's Queen Mary gate which leads straight on to the South Circular road.

Rising prices for copper, lead and bronze have led to a dramatic rise in metal theft nationally, whether from railways lines, buildings or works of art. The leader of Southwark council, Peter John, asked for anyone with information to come forward.

"The theft of this important piece of 20th-century public art from Dulwich park is devastating," he said. "The theft of public art and metal is becoming a sickening epidemic. I would ask the Met police and their metal theft taskforce to investigate this theft as a matter of urgency and would ask anyone with any information about the whereabouts of the sculpture to contact us or the police."

Trevor Moore, the chair of Dulwich Park Friends, said it was a terrible blow. "It has always been there as long as I've been in Dulwich," he said. "It's just one of those things which is always there as you wander past and you feel like you've had a finger chopped off in all honesty."

The work, one of six casts called Two Forms (Divided Circle) made in 1969, sat in a gladed area in the middle of the park and not a location where you would expect CCTV.

"They must have had a major industrial buzz saw of some sort to hack it off," Moore said. "We've always been saying that it's a miracle that it's never had graffiti or been despoiled in any way.

"It was the only major sculpture in the park. Visitors to Dulwich Picture Gallery, which is only a stone's throw from the park, used to come into the park to see the Hepworth because it is such a famous piece."

At more than two metres in height it would have taken some effort to remove and the chances of thieves being able to sell it on as a piece of art would be slim to zero.

Council chiefs were offering a £1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the metal thieves.

The theft comes a month after a bronze statue of the social reformer Dr Alfred Salter was stolen from Rotherhithe, also in Southwark.

The statue, called Dr Salter's Daydream and valued at around £17,500, was erected in 1991 and showed the campaigner in his old age sitting on a bench and waving to his daughter Joyce and her cat.

It was confirmed in 2009 that the fate of a two-tonne Henry Moore sculpture stolen from Much Hadham in Hertfordshire in 2005 was to be melted, possibly sold for no more than £1,500.

The Dulwich Hepworth was acquired by the Greater London council in 1970 and transferred into the ownership of Southwark council when the GLC was abolished.

Hepworth made the work in the late 1960s when she was producing large sculptures that were trying to involve the viewer in some way. She once said of it: "You can climb through the Divided Circle – you don't need to do it physically to experience it."

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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:11 am

You don't know how upset I am about this. Dulwich Park is my local park and has been restored over the last few years , so was looking really good.

This sculpture was so popular, children loved climbing through it.

Someone must have seen something the South Circular is busyish day and night. How on earth did they get it off the plinth into a vehicle it must have weighed tons?

Hope they get caught. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:14 am



What we are left with Mad

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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:25 am

When a signal cable is damaged on a particular stretch of track, all the signals "fail to red" as an automatic safety device. No train is going to move on that track. Imagine the delays and frustration. This is a major problem, but while the British Transport Police occasionally apprehend a perp in situ nothing is going to change until legislation targets the scrap metal dealers themselves.

Last week a hospital in Wales was targeted and the subsequent power failure put lives at risk.

These are completely unscrupulous bastards.




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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:31 am


Winged Figure, 1963, on the side of the John Lewis department store, Oxford Street, London.

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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:36 am

There's a branch of the Tate Gallery in St Ives, Cornwall- one of my favourite seaside places- which has a considerable Hepworth collection.


Sphere with Inner Form (1963) at Trewyn Garden, St Ives, Cornwall.

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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:12 am

Public art: is there any way to beat the thieves?

The theft of a £500,000 Barbara Hepworth sculpture from Dulwich Park shows how vulnerable public art works are to determined thieves


Stolen: Barbara Hepworth's Two Forms (Divided Circle) standing in Dulwich Park before it was taken. Photograph: Southwark Council/PA

How do we stop thieves from making off with our public art works? The question arises from this week's disappearance of a Barbara Hepworth sculpture, Two Forms (Divided Circle), from its plinth in south London's Dulwich Park. The sculpture, which had resided safely in the park since 1970, is believed to have been stolen by scrap-metal thieves, who will only manage to realise a tiny fraction of its value (around £500,000).

There are thousands of public works like Hepworth's in parks, gardens and town squares all round the country. Many curators are understandably reluctant to discuss the security measures they currently have in place. But Stephen Feeke, a curator at the New Art Centre, a gallery and sculpture park in Wiltshire, says flood-lighting is a good way to deter thieves and vandals. "You've also got to look at securely gating and fencing the perimeter of a park," he adds. "The important thing is to block access for vehicles: a bronze sculpture is far too heavy to carry off without a car."

Paul Ekblom, of the Design Against Crime Research Centre at London's Central Saint Martins, warns against the kneejerk imposition of fortifications. "We need to look at introducing security measures to new sculptures – for instance, using forensic coding that might allow the metal to be traced. It's also important to make it clear that these thefts are totally unacceptable: our artists and culture ministers need to stand up and say: 'Shame on you.'"

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Re: Barbara Hepworth

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:17 am

I read today that war memorials are also a target.

Astounding.

I'm reminded of Oscar Wilde's definition of a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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