The Search For A Sculpture Stolen From UW 70 Years Ago

Apr 1, 2019

The stolen sculpture. Courtesy Jim Barker.

A Steamboat Springs man is hoping to recover a sculpture stolen from the University of Wyoming student union in the 1950s.

The sculpture, an expressionistic depiction of a bucking bronco, was made by Jim Barker's father Bob, who was an art student at the time.

"Somewhere out there, out there in the universe, it's sitting on someone's mantel, and they have no idea what the story behind it is," said Jim. "And for it to come back and sit on my mom's mantel, instead of someone who has no real appreciation for it, would be an incredible tribute to my dad."

Jim said his parents always wondered what happened to the sculpture, and after the recent death of his father, he decided to try to find the missing artwork.

"I was telling my wife and said, 'My only regret is that if this was to really happen, and the thing came back to us, I would feel like a complete dork for not having put effort into this decades ago when he could have had the pleasure of having it returned.' But her response to that was, 'Well no, his whole thing was that someone liked it so much they wanted to steal it, and that's the end of the story,'" Jim said.

Although Bob Barker was an art student at UW, he went on to become an engineer. Jim said he started making art again during retirement. Jim believes the sculpture could still be in the Laramie area since it was not made of valuable metal.