British Columbia

Golden egg goes missing from $2.8M Salvador Dali sculpture

Gallery owner Susanna Strem says she couldn't believe her eyes when she discovered the sculpture had been vandalized.

'I could not believe my eyes,' said Vancouver gallery owner after discovering vandalized artwork

The bronze sculpture, titled Space Venus, is being exhibited at the corner of West Hastings Street and Hornby Street. The egg was discovered missing Sunday morning. (Submitted by Susanna Strem)

Every morning since mid-May, gallery owner Susanna Strem has checked on a public sculpture at the corner of West Hastings and Hornby streets.

The 3.5-metre bronze sculpture, titled Space Venus, features a golden egg on top of the lower half of a torso. It was completed by the famed Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali in 1984 and is valued at $2.8 million.

On Sunday morning, Strem discovered the egg was gone, cleanly plucked from the work of art. 

"I could not believe my eyes," she told CBC News. "I just looked away and looked back. It was a different sculpture without the egg."

Strem says it would take great effort to remove the egg from the statue. (Submitted by Susanna Strem)

The egg, which is made out of bronze, is relatively worthless on its own, Strem said. 

The sculpture is one of eight editions of Space Venus made by Dali and showcases his signature melting clock motif.

It was a significant acquisition for the Chali-Rosso Art Gallery, a private gallery in downtown Vancouver where Strem is the owner and curator. The sculpture was meant to be exhibited until October.

The Dali sculptures have toured in major cities across the world, mostly without incident, the gallery says.

"It is extremely distressing that this would happen here in Vancouver," the gallery said in release.

Searching for security footage

Strem said she immediately contacted police after discovering the missing golden egg. On Sunday, Vancouver police said multiple officers are investigating an act of "mischief" related to the sculpture.

It's the third year that the gallery has exhibited Dali sculptures at the site. The art has never been vandalized until now, Strem said.

"At the very beginning, we did have [security] in place. But it was really not necessary. People were friendly and happy."

The gallery is displaying a second Dali sculpture, Dalinian Dancer, at the corner of Thurlow and Alberni streets. It's valued at $1.2 million.

Strem is hoping that security cameras in the West Hastings and Hornby area might have caught any suspicious activity between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

She's asking anyone with footage to contact the gallery or Vancouver police. 

"We are devastated by what happened," Strem said.

"But at the same time, we know Vancouver is a good place and will help us to try to recover the egg."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.