Westport finds near-paradise for its own Adam and Eve
Published 5:51 am, Tuesday, June 30, 2015
It may not be the Garden of Eden, but soon a sculpture called The Couple (Adam & Eve) will inhabit the sylvan grounds of Earthplace.
The Board of Selectmen recently approved accepting the donation of the large sculpture by William King, which was commissioned by the late Susan Rabinowitz Malloy, an artist, ardent supporter of the arts and philanthropist. The selectmen also approved loaning the sculpture to the nature center on Woodside Lane.
Malloy died April 14 at age 91 and bequeathed the sculpture to the town in her will.
“This is a significant addition to the town’s art collection,” said Kathy Bennewitz, the town’s art curator. “It’s just an endearing couple.”
After learning about the bequest, the first question was where to put it, said Ann Sheffer, Malloy’s niece. “It’s fortunate that Earthplace is where my aunt was on the board and they asked if it could be put on their property,” she said.
The sculpture will be placed on a parcel of Earthplace land adjacent to town-owned property, they said.
Sheffer said the sculpture has been in her aunt’s backyard on Dogwood Lane since it was completed in 1991 and will take “a little while to take it all apart and have it cleaned up a bit.”
Bennewitz said the estate would pay for both the disassembling and installation. She said the sculpture will have to be installed on a secure concrete base.
Selectman Helen Garten asked who will pay for that and Bennewitz said the Malloy estate will pay for the full installation in the sculpture’s new location.
She noted that ongoing maintenance, every four or five years, for the sculpture would be about several hundred dollars.
This would include “simply a washing and waxing,” she added.
The sculpture includes a male figure standing 12 feet, 4 inches tall, and a female figure standing 10 feet, 6 inches.
“They really stand out, they are so tall,” said Sheffer.
Bennewitz said that the sculpture was originally thought to be valued at about $20,000, but an estimated value report, requested by Malloy’s estate, put the fair market value at between $45,000 and $65,000.
Selectman Avi Kaner asked why Earthplace was chosen as the new site. “The director asked for it,” said Sheffer. “We explored a number of other locations, but it can’t go near the water,” because it’s made of aluminum.
Kaner also said it’s ironic that Malloy and the artist died within a month of each other. King died March 4 at his home in East Hampton, N.J. He was 90 years old.
“I have a packet of letters between my aunt and the artist,” Sheffer said. In the letters, they can’t decide what to call the artwork.
“He said Adam and Eve and they decided on The Couple,” she said. “It’s very personal.”