Salvador Dalí, “Space Venus” (1977-84) in Vancouver, Canada (photo by Susanna Strem, courtesy Chali Rosso Art Gallery)

Since 2014, residents of Vancouver, Canada have been enjoying the sight of sculptures by the famous surrealist Salvador Dalí publicly displayed in the city’s parks and squares as part of the annual public art project Definitely Dalí. The year might mark the end of the project after the Golden Egg in Dalí’s $2.8 million sculpture “Space Venus” was found missing on Sunday morning.

“Space Venus” after its Golden Egg had been stolen (photo by Susanna Strem, courtesy Chali Rosso Art Gallery)

“The vandals have stolen the Golden Egg that sits on top of the lower half of the torso of the Venus. There is absolutely no value to the egg alone, making this a senseless and selfish act on the part of the vandals,” Chali Rosso Gallery said in a statement. “This is not just a huge loss for the gallery, but also for the entire city and the millions of guests who will no longer be able to enjoy the intact sculpture,” the statement continued.

“Space Venus” (1977-84), a 12-foot-high bronze sculpture depicting the Roman goddess of love, sex, and beauty, features a split torso adorned with Dalí’s famous motifs — a melting watch, a golden egg, and crawling bugs. The sculpture was brought to Canada by Chali Rosso Art Gallery in Vancouver after being displayed in several locations around the world. In May, the gallery placed the sculpture at Hornby and West Hastings Street in the Downtown Vancouver Heritage District, where it will stay until September 2019.

“I’m in shock that it could happen here in Vancouver,” said Chali Rosso’s owner, Susanna Strem, in an interview with the Vancouver Sun. “It has been all around the world and nothing like this has happened,” she told the local newspaper.

The incident might bring the Definitely Dalí project to a halt, according to the gallery. “Sadly, it may also be the last time we are able to fund the presentation of a magnificent, original Salvador Dalí sculpture to the people of Vancouver,” it said in its statement.

“It is extremely distressing that this would happen here in Vancouver,” the gallery added in its statement and encouraged the vandals “to surrender the sculptural egg to the Vancouver Police Department without delay.”

If retrieved, the egg can be reattached to the sculpture without causing further damage, Strem said. No further information has been provided as to the time of the theft, and no suspects have been found so far. However, the gallery believes that CCTV cameras of businesses in the area may have recorded the theft during Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...

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