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UDPATE — Missing Sculptures Found

Kevin Killeen
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Ernest Trova sculptures once on display outside General American Life Building at 8th and Market (Google photo)

Ernest Trova sculptures once on display outside General American Life Building at 8th and Market (Google photo)

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ST. LOUIS  (KMOX) — Three missing modern art sculptures turned up downtown — not far from where they disappeared.

It was a mystery KMOX first told you about Tuesday. Three Ernest Trova sculptures worth $40,000 or more, had gone missing from the GenAmerican Plaza at 8th and Market where they had been on display since 2002.

Today, City police found the hulking metal artwork tucked away in the basement of the building.

But it’s not over yet.

St. Louis County had lent the modern art to the GenAmerican building for display, but acting County Parks Director, Tom Ott, says the building’s new owner is playing finders, keepers.

“I think they believed (the sculptures) belonged to them when they acquired the building a few years ago,” said Ott.

Adding “that’s not a true.”

To prove its not true, Ott says they have found the 2002 loan agreement, but someone at the time apparently left out the most important part of Artwork and legal contracts — a signature.

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OUR EARLIER STORY:

ST. LOUIS –(KMOX)–The County Parks Department wants to know what happened to three valuable sculptures it had lent for display in downtown St. Louis.

The three Ernest Trova abstract metal sculptures had been on display on the plaza of the General American Life Insurance property at 8th and Market Street for about ten years, but have recently disappeared without explanation.

Three empty pedestals where once sat three Ernest Trova sculptures outside General American Life Building at 8th and Market (KMOX/Killeen)

Three empty pedestals where once sat three Ernest Trova sculptures outside General American Life Building at 8th and Market (KMOX/Killeen)

“Right now, St. Louis County is trying to get in touch with the realty company owning the building to determine their location,” said Acting Parks Director Tom Ott.

The three sculptures are estimated to be worth about $40,000 total, and the county is having difficulty finding the paperwork of the original 2002 loan agreement to prove its ownership.

“There was originally some loan paperwork that was on file with them,” Ott said, “But I don’t know if that was ever fully executed. I believe it’s a gentleman’s agreement loan right now.”

The General American Building has been vacant for years, and was even used in the George Clooney movie Up in the Air. More recently, Laclede Gas was reportedly considering moving its headquarters to there from its long-held perch at 720 Olive Street.

Closeup of empty pedestal where Ernest Trova sculpture had been at 8th and Market downtown (KMOX/Killeen)

Closeup of empty pedestal where Ernest Trova sculpture had been at 8th and Market downtown (KMOX/Killeen)

The disappearance of the sculptures is a relatively new development. The Post Dispatch had reported in July that the three works of art were sitting on display in the General America plaza, while the County Parks Department sought their return and the new owner of the building was claiming ownership.

Ott says he’s working now to find out who removed them, where they are and how to get them back.

Copyright KMOX

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