‘It’s personal’: 62-pound bronze fountain stolen from Austin’s Fonda San Miguel


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 62-pound bronze piece of artwork that serves as a water fountain was stolen from the Fonda San Miguel restaurant in central Austin earlier this week, owners said.

They’re now offering a $500 reward to anyone with information that will help track it down.

The outdoor fountain, which is an elongated, rectangular face, was created by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante. It’s called “Rostro Rectangular, Ojos Cerrados,” which translates to “eyes closed.”

Fonda San Miguel restaurant in central Austin (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
Fonda San Miguel restaurant in central Austin (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

Co-owner Tom Gilliland purchased the artwork in 2019 while on a visit to Bustamante’s gallery in Tlaquepaque, located in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“He does all kinds of work, but primarily his work are bronzes and he does some that are 40-feet tall,” Gilliland explained.

Gilliland said they also display other works from Bustamante and other artists in the restaurant, which customers come in to enjoy while they eat, but this one was special.

“This particular piece is the only sculpture that we have, and so as a result it was important to us, and people oftentimes asked to sit right here by the window so they could see that, because it gave them a good feeling,” he said.

The fountain was stolen between midnight on July 6 after the restaurant had closed and 6 a.m. the next morning, according to the restaurant.

Gilliland said it would have taken two strong people and a truck to successfully steal the 34 x14 x 5-inch fountain. If they weren’t able to find it, he said they’d probably ask Bustamante to create something else for the restaurant.

“This is an assault on goodness, an assault on, frankly, on art collecting, and to me it’s personal, and I think a lot of people who are guests of this restaurant over many years feel a little bit violated that somebody would come and do something like this,” Gilliland said.

Fonda San Miguel said the Austin Police Department hasn’t responded to their restaurant yet, but they have made a report. The restaurant has been open since 1975.

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