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Bronze statue by famous Utah artist is cut down and stolen: A reward issued for its return

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A life-size bronze statue by a famous Utah artist has been stolen from the Parkview Medical plaza. The statue was stolen sometime early Wednesday morning cut off at the ankles. The artist's son says it's likely the thieves have no idea what they've taken.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A life-size bronze statue by a famous Utah artist has been stolen from the Parkview Medical plaza.

The statue was stolen sometime early Wednesday morning cut off at the ankles. The artist's son says it's likely the thieves have no idea what they've taken.

“This is a very important statue by a very important artist,” said Dr. Grant R. Fairbanks.

His father, Avard Fairbanks, is one of America’s most distinguished sculptors of the 20th century and a descendent of Utah pioneers. Avard Fairbanks was the founding Dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. His works can be found there as well as on the campus of BYU, the tops of LDS temples, and at the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C.

The stolen statue entitled “Shell Boy,” created in 1933, was one of the most important examples of the sculptor's figurative works.

Dr. Fairbanks explained, "Whether it's Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci or my father, you'll see the anatomy demonstrated and it was clearly demonstrated in this particular statue."

In 1999 the statue was appraised at $71,000, today it's likely worth more than $80,000, but because it was cast while Fairbanks was still alive it's priceless.

"To me someone destroying this statue is like taking a hammer to the Pieta in Rome," said Dr. Fairbanks.

The damage has been done, but Fairbanks fears it may be too late to ever resurrect the statue.

"My fear is that this has been stolen by people who tired to cut it up and sell it off as scrap metal,” said Dr. Fairbanks.

A $2,000 reward has been issued for the statue’s safe return. If you have any information you’re asked to call 801-268-8838.
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