Two internationally recognized contemporary artists living in West Dublin, N.S. recently had 10 of their heavy bronze sculptures hacked apart, stolen and sold as scrap metal.

Artists John Greer and Vanessa Paschakarnis have their work on display in museums all over the world.

The pair was working in Italy when police in Nova Scotia phoned them to say that the sculptures had been stolen, and that police had retrieved the pieces from a scrap metal dealer.

After returning home, they saw the extent of the devastating damage.

"Some of this work goes back 10 years and to have it all cut up is pretty traumatic," Greer told CBC News.

The art works were being stored in a warehouse near the couple's house when the theft occurred.

Police said they have suspects but have not made any arrests.

The thieves received $1200 for selling the sculptures as scrap but the art is valued at upwards of $250,000.

The pieces were not insured.

Both artists are understandably angry.

"Really, I would like to cut their fingers off," Greer said.

"For me, in this case, a whole body of work was destroyed," Paschakarnis said, "They were unique pieces, I can't just redo them."


Thieves hacked apart the bronze sculptures and sold the pieces as scrap metal. (CBC)

"It was a very stupid, brutal act," Greer said.

Greer has exhibited his work since 1967 throughout Canada, the U.S., Korea and Europe. He taught sculpture for 26 years at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.

Paschakarnis is a German Canadian sculptor who has exhibited her work in Europe, the U.S. and Canada.