“It’s an artistic and economic compromise,” said a Tower Hamlets spokesperson. “When a private buyer said he would allow us to keep the holes in the Henry Moore statue in return for a 40% discount on the bronze component, we jumped at the chance. It means a significant element in an important art work is kept for the people of the borough to enjoy. And they can still benefit from the cash gained by selling the metal part - a meeting of minds between conceptual art and hard cash.”
It’s understood the offer was for £20million for the complete statue, “Draped Seated Man with Bagel.” But without the two holes which are crucial to the piece, a discount was negotiated whereby the local authority keeps the holes and receives only £12 million. It’s planned for the holes to go on continuous display in the grounds of Tower Hamlets Town Hall.
“In a way, we come out of this on top” said Councillor Robert Jones, responsible for civic amenities. “Compared to the sculpture itself, which many people find incomprehensible, the holes are easier to keep free of pigeon droppings, far more secure at night times, and almost impossible to steal, as they’re so well known. If anyone offers you a hole in a pub, you’d recognise a Henry Moore one straight away.”