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Case of East Hampton Library’s mystery bust solved

The mysterious sculpture of a woman was left

The mysterious sculpture of a woman was left on a fountain at the construction site of the children's wing of the East Hampton Public Library. Details of items contained in the Long Island History Collection at the East Hampton Public Library. (May 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

With newspapers, TV, and social and online media looking for answers to the question of who left a bust of a woman behind the East Hampton Library last month, library director Dennis Fabiszak learned Thursday the answer was, literally, in his own backyard.

One of the workers framing out the expansion of the library’s children’s wing left the bust there to keep it from getting broken while he worked on another project in Sag Harbor.

“Although the truth was not as exciting as the various scenarios we had imagined, it is great to have solved the mystery,” Fabiszak said.

The terra-cotta bust was found next to the construction site early last month, and after stories about the search spread across the tri-state area, tips from readers led to the discovery that bust was the work of Nick Della Penna, an artist from Babylon who moved to Woodstock a decade ago.

The model was his wife, Lorraine, which explained the inscription: “My wife, Forever, Della Penna.”

The artist did the bust for his wife’s friend, Janice Tooman, who lives in Sag Harbor and is having construction work done on her house.

One of the workmen put it in his truck to keep it safe, then went to the library and put it down so he could get some tools. He left the bust there, and has not been back since.

Fabiszak said the man was unaware anyone was trying to find out where the bust came from.



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