The $800K Missing Limbs

Bullet Shih Dec, 2012 1
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Stolen Douglas Gordon golded Sculpture

Photo: Yvon Lambert

The Greek myth of Tantalus tells the story of Tantalus who is invited to dine with the gods on Olympus and in a moment of arrogance or cheekiness decides to dice up his son Pelops and serve it to the seemingly unsuspecting gods.  However, being gods, all of them save Demeter passed on the foul offering.  Enraged, Zeus banished Tantalus to Hades and co-opted Clotho to make the boy whole again, however as Pelops’s shoulder was being digested by Demeter, an new limb was fashioned out of ivory.  Tantalus was to live an eternity with an insatiable thirst and hunger.  In another version of the story, Tantalus is accused of stealing a dog made out of gold.  Within this story lies a valuable lesson for the recent incident at the Christie’s high security storage facility in London.

The Guardian has reported that the artwork The Left Hand and the Right Hand Have Abandoned One Another made by British artist Douglas Gordon in 2007 has disappeared from the Christie’s storage facility where it was on loan from Paris dealer Yvon Lambert as it was up for private sale.  The significant detail of the piece was that it was made of solid gold valued at $400K which equates to about 232 oz. The theft was allegedly discovered when a handler at Christie’s thought that the box containing the work felt a little light.  Gordon is upset that that it took Christie’s 16 days to inform him of the missing hands.  The Guardian quotes him as stating,

“I don’t think this is an art theft, I’m pretty sure it has been melted down.”

However, the small pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is that the piece was insured for $800K or twice its intrinsic value.

One Comment »

  1. David Sausage Dec, 2012 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Whatever the paper the coast the cost of object-hood cannot always be counted in pictures. I wounder what it will become next?

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