News / Toronto

How the AGO will move its iconic 8-ton Henry Moore sculpture

It will be moved to its new home in Grange Park.

Kids play on Henry Moore’s sculpture Large Two Forms in 2016. The sculpture will be moved from Dundas St. and McCaul St. to Grange Park this weekend.

J.P. Moczulski for the TORONTO STAR

Kids play on Henry Moore’s sculpture Large Two Forms in 2016. The sculpture will be moved from Dundas St. and McCaul St. to Grange Park this weekend.

Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture Large Two Forms has defined the corner of McCaul St. and Dundas St. since it was first installed in October 1974. But this weekend it will make a short but difficult move to Grange Park, just south of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

A “return to prominence”: The sculpture will be moved to the newly renovated Grange Park because it was determined the towers along Dundas now overshadow it. New artwork will be installed on the corner, but the AGO hasn’t announced what it will be.

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It’s big: The bronze sculpture weighs eight tons, and requires a crane and two trailers to move. The sculptures must carefully be placed onto pins in their new location.

It’s surprisingly fragile: A dozen movers will have to keep the artwork in the same position during the move, because bronze is a soft metal that could collapse under its weight. “It’s like moving glass,” says Iain Hoadley, the AGO’s general manager of logistics and art services.

The move takes a while: If the weather is good and there aren’t any complications the move should take about eight hours. That process is the result of six months of planning, the most complicated Toronto project of its kind since the Ai Weiwei installation in Nathan Phillips Square, says Hoadley.

It’s probably worth a lot: The AGO declined to share the insured value of the artwork, but Moore’s famous sculpture Reclining Figure sold at auction for $44.6 million in June 2016.

With files from Torstar News Service

The Moore you know:

Internationally-renowned English sculptor Henry Moore’s work hasn’t always been beloved in Toronto. When Moore’s work The Archer was installed in Nathan Phillips Square in 1966, reporters referred to it as “Henry Moore’s big bronze whatchamacallit,” and alderman Fred Beavis exclaimed, “How much culture are we going to have pushed down our throats?” according to a Globe and Mail report.

The public largely didn’t like the modern artwork either. Its unpopularity became one of the most significant election issues of that year, and Mayor Phil Givens believed it was a major reason why he was upset at the ballot box by William Dennison.

In spite of the opposition, Moore appreciated the city’s placement of the work, and in 1974 gave art worth $30 million to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), including Large Two Forms.

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