At first there were three quaint, if somewhat stoical, sheep gracing the barren field in the Civic Center.
The ram and two ewes, fashioned by French artist Francois Lalanne of bronze and cement, were installed in June as part of the Summer Sculpture Exhibition curated by Carl Schlosberg.
The trio hardly had time to get accustomed to their bleak surroundings — well, it isn’t a verdant meadow — when the ram was whisked off under cover of darkness June 18.
Schlosberg said he was devastated by the loss and hoped it was just a prank and the ram would be recovered. “I’ve never had anything stolen before,” he said, adding that no art collector would ever do such a thing. Sheriff’s deputies investigated the theft but found no clues and still have not made an arrest.
After the ram rip-off, Schlosberg enlisted the aid of artist Ed Benavente to fit the remaining sheep with cement shoes. So it seemed unlikely the two ewes could be stolen, but people did wonder when the pair went missing last week.
Schlosberg’s wife, Judy, assured The Malibu Times Monday the pair had not fallen to thieves.
“Carl sold them both to the same person,” she said. “He removed them last week.”
Schlosberg, who has obtained several pieces of public art for Malibu, said he was hoping at least one or two from this exhibition would be sold here. Sadly, Judy said, that will not be the case with the sheep, which were purchased by someone from outside the area. “I’m afraid they are not to stay in Malibu,” she said.
But there still might be a chance for Malibu to keep a sheep, if somehow the purloined ram was found, or if the perps had a change of heart and returned him one dark night.