For thirty years she has stared down at the people of Leeds as they have walked past the art gallery.
But today (Jan 16) Henry Moore’s famous sculpture of a lying down woman was removed from its plinth overlooking The Headrow.
Experts from the Henry Moore Foundation will then pack the bronze work, called Reclining Woman: Elbow (1981), into a wooden crate ready for shipping to Holland.
In April it will take pride of place among 14 key works by the Castleford sculptor in the gardens of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to mark its reopening after a 10-year restoration.
The distinctive looking work is owned by the foundation, which has a base at the Henry Moore Institute (HMI) nextdoor to Leeds Art Gallery,
Spokeswoman Rebecca Land moved to allay any fears that it would not be returned to the city.
She said: “The reopening of the Rijksmuseum is a massive event in the art world.
“But the sculpture is wedded to that site and it’s definitely coming back.”
Reclining Woman will be on pubic display at the museum from June 21 to September 30.
It will then be cleaned and restored by staff at the Henry Moore Foundation at its main base in Perry Green, Hertfordshire, before being returned in November.
Ms Land said: “It’s not owned by the local authority, so it’s categorically not a case of Leeds City Council sending a sculpture off to somewhere else. Hopefully it’s more a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
The work was personally chosen by Henry Moore himself to go on display outside Leeds Art Gallery in 1982 when the sculpture gallery extension was unveiled.
Executive Member for Leisure Coun Adam Ogilvie said: “It’s going to be a little strange walking past the art gallery and not seeing the Henry Moore sculpture there as it has been a permanent fixture for the last 30 years, but it is long overdue a holiday after all that time.
“We hope everyone enjoys seeing it at the exhibition and we look forward to it returning to Leeds looking better than ever later in the year.”
HMI head of sculpture studies Lisa Le Feuvre added: “Although we will miss the work in Leeds, it really underlines how important the sculpture is. In a way there is a part of Leeds which is being celebrated abroad at this very significant event.”
For more information on HMI in Leeds visit www.henry-moore.org//hmi or call 0113 246 7467.