Unique artwork removed and official opening postponed
Louth County Council is facing a monumental embarrassment after an image was removed from the new World War 1 memorial in Dundalk to avoid legal proceedings.
Instead of being officially unveiled on Tuesday, the centrepiece of the large stone monument was covered by blue tarpaulin after workmen erased the image on Monday afternoon.
This follows the revelation in The Argus last week that American artist Sapin Howard was threatening to issue legal proceedings against the local authority for copyright infringement.
The renowned sculptor is creating the National WWI Memorial, a 58-foot long bronze relief to be installed in Pershing Park, Washington DC in 2024.
He told The Argus that he was ‘shocked’ that the image on the Dundalk memorial appeared very similar to the first eleven figures of his work, ‘A Soldier’s Journey’.
Describing the commission as “one of the biggest sculpture projects on the planet”, he started working on it in 2015 when he won the competition for the artwork for the $44million memorial project and began sculpting it in 2019.
In a statement, the council said “Louth County Council can confirm that it has received correspondence regarding a potential copyright issue on a World War 1 memorial. The council is working constructively towards a satisfactory resolution with the artist on this matter and therefore cannot provide any further comment at this time.”
Funding for the €40,000 Dundalk memorial came from the EU Peace IV Fund, administered through SEUPB and the contractor was selected following an e-tendering process.