A museum patron’s cellphone camera caught another museumgoer at Houston’s Menil Collection walking up and defacing Pablo Picasso’s Woman in a Red Armchair with gold paint. According to police, the vandal sprayed an image of a bull and the word “conquista” on the 1929 painting (detail, right). The vandalism occurred Wednesday afternoon at the Menil, which has nine Picassos in its celebrated collection of modern works. Recent auction values for individual Picasso paintings have topped $100 million.
Menil spokesman Vance Muse told the Houston Chronicle that museum security officers detected the vandalism almost immediately, when the paint was barely dry. Chief conservator Brad Epley began repair work immediately, and Muse says the painting has “an excellent prognosis.”
The video, which contains a number of expletives, has been posted on YouTube.