Priceless Picasso vandalized at Houston museum

Picasso's "Woman in Red Armchair" was defaced while on display at the Menil Collection. (Source: YouTube)
June 18, 2012 4:01:41 PM PDT
It's one of the most treasured collections of artwork in the world, and it resides in Houston. Now police are trying to find a man who scribbled all over a priceless masterpiece.

An incident at the Menil last week is getting a lot of attention from art lovers right now. They all want to know who would spray paint and deface a priceless Picasso painting.

Art lovers are shocked by video posted on YouTube of the graffiti the museum staff says was left on one of its Picasso paintings last week.

Museum patron Alexandra Ulmet asked, "Why would you want to go up to that and change, you know, the history of it?"

Workers at the Menil Collection say Houston police are examining video of the alleged vandal in action. Investigators say an unknown person left tape and spray painted a gold bull figure with the word "conquista" on the museum's 1929 Picasso titled "Woman in Red Armchair."

"It's upsetting, because as an artist myself, I don't think it's right that someone should deface another man's art -- especially a man who paved the way for the rest of us," said artist Sam Alaniz.

The Menil Collection's founders purchased the Picasso back in 1956, and it's been available for public view since 1987.

Dan Koon is another museum patron who's quite familiar with the now defaced Picasso.

He said, "If you have a political message, or anything like that, go protest in front of City Hall. Don't deface Picasso or anything else like that. It's just unconscionable. It makes me sick really."

The Menil Collection's staff says it has no idea why someone would target this priceless painting in such a destructive way. The crime has local artists sending this message out to the vandal.

Alaniz said, "I just want to go on record and say that you are not cool."

Police are asking anyone with information on the vandal to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.


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