Man damages Monet gallery painting

By Alex Veeneman on July 21, 2012

A painting by the French artist Claude Monet. A painting by Monet at the National Gallery of Ireland was damaged.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user alwaysfine)

A painting by the French artist Claude Monet held at the National Gallery of Ireland in the capital Dublin was damaged during public showing. According to a report from the Irish public broadcaster RTE, a man in his 40s has been placed under police custody.

The painting that was damaged was Monet’s “Argenteuil Basin With A Single Sailboat”. The painting was removed, according to a statement from the National Gallery, and is being assessed. A spokesperson for the National Gallery told Uloop that there was no information on updates on conservation of the painting as the matter is still being assessed by police.

In a statement, the gallery’s director, Sean Rainbird, praised the staff for their work during the incident. “It is a shocking and very regrettable incident and I would like to praise the Garda Síochana and the NGI staff in dealing promptly with the matter,” Rainbird said.

The incident occurred, according to RTE, between 11:30am and noon on June 29 in Room 10 of the gallery, located in the building’s lower base wing. According to a report from the Irish Times newspaper, the incident was recorded on closed circuit television and visitors had observed the damage the individual had done to the painting. The Irish Times report adds that the man currently being held by police has convictions in the UK, where he stole rare books, antiques and paintings from stately homes.

Monet was born in 1840 and created the “Argenteuil Basin With A Single Sailboat” oil canvas in 1874. Market values for Monet’s paintings, according to the Times, are estimated into the tens of millions.

A report from the Irish Examiner says the man was also charged with trespassing at a Dublin address.

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