Anthony Caro’s giant steel sculpture Lagoon failed to sell at a recent Bonhams auction in London, likely because Caro publicly boohooed the little stumpy legs wielded into it as a mutilation: “It’s like adding a tail onto an animal painted by Picasso. It’s ridiculous.”

The 1976/77 work was set to fetch in between $160,000 and $240,000, but no bidders met the estimate. The Lagoon was once publicly displayed “in a water setting” – also against Caro’s wishes – and accumulated some extra rust and graffiti. The work was scrubbed, touched-up and “fixed.” Since the abstract lug sprouted some superfluous limbs, Caro reserved the right to say “Look, it’s not my work” loudly enough to foil the auction.