Sculpture displayed for public enjoyment stolen

Artist dedicated to sharing his collection hopes piece taken from outside his Port office is returned

A CERAMIC SCULPTURE was stolen from its pedestal outside the South Wisconsin Street office of its owner in downtown Port Washington sometime late Friday or early Saturday.
Ozaukee Press Staff

C.T. Whitehouse is hoping whoever stole a ceramic sculpture off the pedestal in front of his office on South Wisconsin Street in Port Washington sometime during the night Friday has a conscience.

The sculpture is a stylized head by Kostas Ulevicius, a American-Lithuanian artist known for ceramic objects and sculptures  reflecting his search for the ideal face.

The sculpture of a head in repose sat on a stone base, and Whitehouse placed it on a pedestal in front of his new office at 101 S. Wisconsin Street.

“It was there Friday night,” Whitehouse said. “Saturday morning I went by and it was gone.

“It’s kind of disappointing. A lot of people worry about the theft of art. I never worried too much about it.”

This, he said, is only the second piece that’s been stolen from him during his more than 40 years in business.

Whitehouse is a sculptor who recently moved to Port from Cedarburg and has been working to set up an office for the presentation of sculpture of public and private placement.

The piece that was stolen had been part of a sculpture garden he and his wife, children’s author Barbara Joosse, had established in the yard of their Cedarburg home.

Whitehouse said he purchased the piece at the Lakefront Festival for the Arts in Milwaukee, saying “I was just taken by his (Ulevicius’) work. It has a mood to it, a soft, contemplative mood.

“My guess is it was taken as a prank,” he said, perhaps by someone returning home from the bars.

“I’m hoping someone will read this or hear about it and say, ‘Oh, did we really do this?’” Whitehouse said. “I’m hoping some friend might say, ‘I saw this in the paper. You’d better watch out and turn it in.’

“I’m not interested in pressing charges. I’d just like it back.”

The sculpture is about 20 inches tall and set on a 12-inch square stone base. Whitehouse estimates it weighs between 30 and 35 pounds.

He’s hoping that the piece hasn’t been damaged or broken, something that could have easily happened if someone picked it up by the head.

Whitehouse noted that stolen artwork has little value because it’s not easy to sell and the pieces are easily identifiable.

“What are you going to do with it other than put it in the closet?” he asked.

Police Chief Kevin Hingiss, who said the sculpture is valued at about $700, said officers have few leads.

“There’s really not much to go on,” he said. “We’re hoping we get a tip and can go from there.”

Police speculate that either someone tossed the sculpture into nearby Sauk Creek or took it home for display, Hingiss said.

“It’s really a shame,” he added.

Whitehouse said he believes Port is an ideal place for public art, and he’s not letting the theft deter him. He’s got an abstract  painted metal piece that he’s planning to put outside his office.

“You put a piece of sculpture out and it grabs people’s attention,” he said. “When we put this sculpture out, within two minutes a couple stopped by the office to ask, ‘Is this an art gallery?’”

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Port Washington Police Department at 284-2611 and refer to complaint 18-5988. Anonymous tips can also be texed to 847411 using the keyword PWPDTIP.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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