Henry Moore's Draped Seated Woman to be sold
Tower Hamlets Council has revealed that it is going ahead with the sale of Henry Moore’s public sculpture Draped Seated Woman, despite fierce criticism against the move.
According to the council, the massive government cuts it is facing has forced it into a difficult position where it has to make tough decisions across the board. Over the next two years it needs to save £100 million.
The council stated that in an ideal world it would not have been put into such a painful position. To have had to weigh up the benefits of a valuable cultural asset against the need to protect essential frontlines services has been extremely challenging.
“I find that Tower Hamlets is being judged rather harshly by the art world with regards to our decision to sell the sculpture,” commented councillor Rania Khan, cabinet member for culture.
“I see first-hand the difficulties residents are faced with in the borough. Henry Moore said he wanted his sculpture to benefit the residents of the borough and through the sale the council can achieve this in a tangible and practical way.”
Valued at around £20 million, the sale of Moore’s bronze work of art would contribute significantly to the council’s programme of savings over the next few years. The council argues that as one of the capital city’s most deprived boroughs, ensuring the wellbeing of its residents is its number one priority.
While opponents of the sale are appreciative of the difficulties faced by the council, they feel that there are other legitimate ways of cutting costs. They also see it as a betrayal of the original agreement, which saw Moore sell it to the council for a bargain £6,000 under the assumption it would remain on display in a public space.
Prominent public figures, including Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota; Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow Rushanara Ali; and filmmaker Danny Boyle have openly voiced their disapproval.
Boyle said: “The value of art is diminished by being monetarised. The Moore sculpture defies all prejudice in people’s minds about one of London’s poorest boroughs. That alone makes it priceless to every resident.”
Cadogan Tate specialises in fine art shipping, fine art storage and art logistics, helping galleries, museums and collectors manage their collections.