‘Hatched Baby’ sculpture in La Crosse not fixable, artist tells city

Sculpture's head was stolen this month before eventually being found and secured by La Crosse police

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse’s “Hatched Baby” sculpture could be gone for good.

A city parks and recreation official tells News 8 Now the Big Blue Baby’s artist told the city that the sculpture is not fixable.

The head of the baby was stolen earlier this month before eventually being found and secured by La Crosse police.

The “Hatched Baby” was installed on the south lawn of La Crosse City Hall in 2018.

The sculpture was a loan from German artist Wolfgang Auer in our sister city of Friedburg, Germany, but it was a topic of conversation for many people in the community.

La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds released the following statement: After evaluating pictures from the damage of his sculpture, artist Wolfgang Auer has determined that his work, ‘Hatched Baby,’ is not repairable. Auer, from La Crosse’s sister city of Friedberg, Germany had loaned the sculpture to the city for an indeterminate amount of time several years ago. The sculpture, which had been installed on the south lawn of City Hall, was damaged in an act of vandalism earlier this month. Lacking repairs, the sculpture will not be returned to its site.

“Hatched Baby” is from a series of works by Auer inspired by the parental anxieties he felt after the birth of his daughter. The sculpture has provoked conversation and debate in La Crosse for several years. Which is precisely what art should do. I have apologized on behalf of our community for the destruction caused to Mr. Auer’s sculpture and urged him not to feel that the actions by a few represent our community as a whole.

Those responsible for the destruction of Mr. Auer’s work have yet to be located. The search by police will continue. Any information the public can share in relation to this vandalism would be welcome.”

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