Ten sculptures with a combined worth of almost $18,000 were stolen from Yale’s Marsh Botanical Gardens last Wednesday night. The sculptures were the most expensive of artist Susan Clinard’s 60 pieces in the garden, she said.
The greenhouse in the Marsh Botanical Gardens, located at the north end of Yale’s campus, did not have an alarm or security and the pieces were not insured, Clinard said.
In addition to the 10 stolen pieces, three pieces were left seriously damaged in the greenhouse. Most of the stolen pieces were made of wood, clay or bronze. Clinard, the wife of molecular, cellular and developmental biology professor Thierry Emonet, said she removed the rest of her sculptures from the greenhouse shortly after meeting with the police to identify the stolen pieces.
Clinard said she “immediately felt a sense of loss” when she found out about the burglary.
The Yale Police Department could not be reached for comment.
Clinard said the police were skeptical about finding the culprits, although she said the officers were “candid and helpful.”
The burglars appear to have entered the greenhouse by smashing a window and then exited with the pieces through a door, she said. Some of the pieces were quite heavy, Clinard said. One resin piece called “Trancendance” was 2.5 feet high and weighed 75 to 80 pounds.
Marsh Botanical Garden had never before exhibited artwork along with the plants in its collection.
Clinard said Marsh Gardens manager Eric Larson said the gardens would most likely take steps to increase security before inviting other artists to exhibit their work in the garden. Clinard’s exhibit, which opened Nov. 16, was set to continue until Dec. 14.
“It’s kind of a back-handed compliment,” Clinard said. “If someone put their butt on the line to steal my sculptures, I guess they liked them.”