A COUNCIL has agreed to the controversial sale of a sculpture which is one of the star attractions at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Henry Moore sculpture Draped Seated Woman, known as ‘Old Flo’ will be sold by Tower Hamlets Council in London to claw back money lost in budget cuts.
A council spokesman said that the piece was expected to raise between £4m and £17m and will be sold through Christie’s auction house.
The sale had drawn vocal opposition from prominent figures in the British art world, including film-maker Danny Boyle, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota and the artist’s daughter Mary Moore.
The artwork was originally sold to the council by Mr Moore at a below-market price in the 1960s with the understanding that it would be placed in east London.
However, it has been on loan to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the last 15 years.
It will now be put up for sale as Tower Hamlets attempt to make £100m savings by 2015.
The council said on their website that it was a “tough decision” but one that was made due to the “massive government cuts we are facing.”
Lutfur Rahman, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “It is with considerable regret that I make this decision but I have a duty to ensure residents do not suffer the brunt of the horrendous cuts being imposed on us.”
Earlier this month a number of leading arts figures signed a letter opposing the sale.
The letter argued that “the mayor’s proposal goes against the spirit of Henry Moore’s original sale” and urged the council to reconsider.
Boyle had called for the sculpture to be erected in the Olympic Park.
The council said that it looked at other options of displaying the sculpture in a public place but the insurance costs and threat of vandalism and theft were too high.