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First Piece of Artwork Ever to be Commissioned for The Herbert is to See the Light of Day Again
Chris Kirby, museum development manager at the Herbert, standing with Peri’s Coventry Sculpture.

COVENTRY.- A sculpture, which was specially made for The Herbert in 1960, shows the people of Coventry at work and play, and had its first unveiling when the art gallery and museum opened its doors 48 years ago.

But the busy composition known as The Coventry Sculpture, by Hungarian artist, Peter Laszlo Peri, has been encased for nearly four years while The Herbert, in Jordan Well, Coventry, has been undergoing a £20 million refurbishment and extension.

Peri, who lived in Berlin before moving to Britain in 1933, used concrete as a modelling material, and with this particular work, combined concrete figures with steel structures to represent the people of Coventry.

The avant-garde artist, whose work was heavily influenced by the Social Realist style and early years of the Soviet Union, viewed people as a mass of machines who work but also need rest and recreation.

Martin Roberts, senior curator at The Herbert, said: “It’s fantastic to have the sculpture unveiled - as the refurbishment and extension is in its final stages, it’s great that we can finally display this wonderful sculpture again.

“It’s been hidden away since 2005, but now it can be appreciated by all who visit the Herbert, just as it was when the gallery first opened nearly 50 years ago.

“The Coventry Sculpture is one of three pieces of work that were too large to be moved from The Herbert during the refurbishment, so had to stay in the art gallery while the work was carried out – it is the last of the three to be unveiled.”

The Herbert’s £20 million refurbishment and extension at the heart of Coventry city centre in Jordan Well will be completed in 2008.

A number of exhibition galleries, a history centre, visual arts, natural history and history exhibitions, and a studio space for performance and events, will open in the autumn in the new extension.

The first phase of the redevelopment is already open which includes creative media studios, an arts information centre, an exhibition space, education facilities, a café and a shop.

The Peri sculpture will be on view to the public in the Sculpture Gallery from November, following the completion of the refurbishment and extension.

For more information about The Herbert visit or telephone 024 7683 2386.

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