A VALUABLE work of art by leading Irish sculptor Michael Warren has been stolen from his workshop outside Gorey.
The piece titled '723: Homage to Eileen Gray', consists of nine separate solid blocks of bronze, and has been valued at as much as €50,000.
John Daly of Hillsboro Fine Art in Dublin, said it's a very substantial piece. 'Each block weighs at least 70 kilogrammes,' he said, explaining that the work has been exhibited at his gallery, as well as the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
'Michael Warren is probably Ireland's best-known sculptor ever,' he said. 'This kind of piece would go in international shows. It was made in 2007, and is a pretty key piece.'
He said that as an artwork it could be worth around €50,000, but unfortunately it's likely to be melted down, as it probably wasn't stolen as an artwork.
The bronze alone could be worth as much as €20,000, as the nine 35 to 40 sq.cm. blocks are made of solid metal. Other bronze art works around the UK have also been stolen and melted down for scrap.
Gardaí are investigating the theft which occurred at Mr Warren's studio at Ballycale outside Gorey between 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 24, and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 25. A number of Mr Warren's tools were also stolen. Witnesses to suspicious activity are being sought by gardaí.
'The piece has an importance way beyond the value of the materials,' said John. 'It's a big loss in lots of ways.' He urged those to might come across it not to melt it down, and to hand it in to the authorities.