The solid gold toilets of the artist Maurizio Cattelan stolen from an English palace

Entitled "America", the work had been talked about when Donald Trump had been offered on loan by the Guggenheim Museum, after the curator had refused to lend a painting of Van Gogh, as requested by the White House.

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The "America" ​​toilets on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, September 2016.
The "America" ​​toilets on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in September 2016. AP

It was the highlight of the attraction: "America", the solid gold toilet of the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan was stolen, Saturday, September 14, at the Blenheim Palace, country residence located in Woodstock in the country of Oxford, in the south of England, and World Heritage Site by Unesco.

A 66-year-old man was arrested but the precious place of comfort was not found " for the time being "according to the local police. The 18-carat gold work includes seat, bowl and flush operational. Its value is estimated at around one million pounds (1.13 million euros). It was a key piece of the exhibition dedicated since Thursday to the iconoclast Maurizio Cattelan in the palace of the XVIIIe century in Oxfordshire.

Work presented as egalitarian

By the end of the exhibition on October 27th, thousands of visitors could have relieved themselves in this restroom after booking a three-minute slot. The work is presented as egalitarian by the 58-year-old artist who says "The art of the 1% (including the richest people on the planet) for the other 99 percent".

"We knew there was a lot of interest in Maurizio Cattelan's contemporary art exhibition"responded Blenheim Palace in a statement posted on Twitter. "It is therefore really unfortunate that such a precious object has been stolen. "

The Blenheim Palace belongs to the 12e Duke of Marlborough and saw the birth of the British statesman Winston Churchill. In August, the brother of the Duke and founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, Edward Spencer-Churchill, said he did not provide any special supervision for these toilets. "It will not be the easiest thing to steal"he had said in the daily newspaper The Times. "First of all, it's related to plumbing. Then a potential thief will have no idea who used the toilet last or what he ate. So no, I do not plan to keep it. "

The thieves "Broke into the palace during the night and left around 4:50 am"police said in a statement. "As the toilet was connected to the plumbing of the building, it caused significant damage and flooding"said Inspector Jesse Milne. Police think thieves have used "At least two vehicles" to commit their wrongdoing. Saying she does not know of any other works that have been stolen, she said at a press conference that she was going to analyze the images of the surveillance cameras.

The "America" ​​toilets proposed to Donald Trump

The "America" ​​toilets had been exhibited for the first time at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where they had been used by some 100,000 people between September 2016 and summer 2017. The WC had been talked about when US President Donald Trump had been offered on loan by the New York museum, after the conservative refused to make available a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, as requested by the White House.

The castle will reopen Sunday after being closed to the public on Saturday. Designed by British architect John Vanbrugh, it welcomes more than a million visitors each year, according to its website. He had been offered by Queen Anne to the First Duke of Marlborough after his victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.


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