Artist fears 500,000 gold sculpture 'stolen' from Christie's auction house will be melted down for cash
18:42 GMT, 30 November 2012
Scottish artist Douglas Gordon
A sculpture made from solid gold by a Turner prize-winning artist had been 'stolen' while under the care of famous auction house Christie's.
Douglas Gordon claims he only learned that the piece, called 'The Left Hand and the Right Hand Have Abandoned One Another', had been taken after a curator mentioned it to him.
Mr Gordon, who became the first video
artist to win the Turner Prize in 1996, believes that the work has been
taken for its scrap metal value – which he estimates at 250,000 – and
will be melted down.
The artist says that a Christie's representative only contacted him yesterday morning – 18 days after his work had disappeared, the Guardian reported.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman told Mail Online: 'We are investigating the alleged theft of a piece of artwork from a secure warehouse in the King Street area of Westminster.
'The incident was first reported to police on November 12 and is currently being investigated by Westminster CID.'
A spokesman for Christie's told Mail Online: 'This matter is currently under investigation and we are in contact with all parties involved. We cannot comment further.'
Mr Gordon fears his solid gold sculpture has been taken and will be melted down
They refused to respond to Mr Gordon's claims that he had not been told about the disappearance until November 29.
The Scottish artist, who is based in
Berlin, told the Guardian that he understood it was only when an
employee handled the crate and thought its weight was light that the
crate was opened and it was discovered that the artwork had gone.
Christie's storage facility claims on
its website to be 'the world’s premier storage provider for fine art,
antiques and collectibles' and has 'been offering best-in-class storage
for over 25 years.'
Their London facility is a fire-proof building of concrete and steel construction and they boast that 'a security team is on-site 24 hours per day, monitoring integrated physical and electronic surveillance systems.'
Douglas Gordon, who usually works with the medium of video, won the Turner Prize in 1996
The sculpture had been exhibited at
Waddeston Manor, in Buckinghamshire this summer as it it had been up for
private sale through Christie's, which organised the show of
It was a curator from this show who had contacted Gordon about the disappearance, the artist claims.
Gordon, who represented Britain in the Venice Bienniale in 1997, usually stores his work in Parisian gallery Yvon Lambert.
The artist, who studied at Glasgow School of Art and The Slade School of Art in London, has had solo shows in Britain, Beijing, New York and Paris.
The price of gold has soared in recent years.
Christie's auction house is renowned for its high-profile objects that go under the hammer
A decade ago last week, the price of gold was $317 an ounce – since then it has soared to $1,734, outperforming almost every other type of financial investment.
Many followers of the precious metal believe that, even though the price has quintupled in a decade, it will continue to rise over the medium term, presenting a real opportunity for investors.
So far this year, for example, central banks have spent billions of pounds buying about 400 tons of gold. Last month alone, Brazil bought 17.2 tons, taking its total stock to 52.5 tons.
Christie's is renowned for its high-profile auctions, and some of its sales have made records.
It has a long history of auctioning off works of art, memorabilia and luxurious items.
In 1987, as part of the Royal Albert Hall auction, Christie's sold a Bugatti Royale car for a world record price of 5.5 million.
In May 1989, Jacopo Pontormo's Portrait of a Halberdier was sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum for $35.2 million, which more than tripled the previous auction record for an Old Master painting.
In December 2006, the famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the hit film Breakfast at Tiffany's went under the hammer for 467, 200 at Christie's auction house in South Kensington.