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Saturday 16 December 2017

Gardai fear stolen €50k Eileen Grey sculpture is melted

GardaI believe a well known Traveller gang are responsible for the theft of a solid bronze sculpture of designer Eileen Gray - worth over €50,000.

The work of art by renowned Irish sculptor Michael Warren was stolen outside of his Wexford workshop.

However, investigators now fear the piece has been melted down for its metal value.

A source told the Herald that an infamous gang is "extremely organised and experienced" in carrying out this type of crime.

"It's highly unlikely that they were stealing it for its value as a piece of art," they added.

The piece, titled 723: Homage to Eileen Gray, honours the world-renowned Wexford designer, and consists of nine separate solid blocks of bronze each weighing around 80kg. Estimates suggest the 35 to 40 square centimetre blocks could be worth as much as €20,000.

John Daly of Hillsboro Fine Art in Dublin has described the 2007 work as a "substantial piece" that has been displayed at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and his own gallery.

"Michael Warren is probably Ireland's best-known sculptor ever," he said. "It's a massive loss not only to the artists but the art world as well."

Gray (above) was a designer, architect, lacquer worker, photographer, sculptor and painter. Although she considered herself Irish to her core, she spent most of her life in France. An armchair she designed sold for €21.9m in 2009. She died in 1976.

The theft of the sculpture occurred at Mr Warren's studio at Ballycale outside Gorey sometime between 6pm on February 24 and 11pm on February 25. Gardai are appealing for any one with any information to contact them in Gorey on (053) 9430690.

hnews@herald.ie

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