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At National Gallery In Washington, Visitor Attacks Gauguin Painting

Visitors to Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery were treated to some unexpected drama over the weekend: The Washington Post reports that a woman attacked a 1899 painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin. The Post reports:

Screaming "This is evil," a woman tried to pull Gauguin's "Two Tahitian Women" from a gallery wall Friday and banged on the picture's clear plastic covering, said Pamela Degotardi of New York, who was there.

"She was really pounding it with her fists," Degotardi said. "It was like this weird surreal scene that one doesn't expect at the National Gallery."

The woman was restrained and detained and is facing charges of destruction of property and attempted theft.

Gauguin's Two Tahitian Women is a 48-inch by 40-inch oil-on-canvas painting that portrays one woman with both her breasts exposed and another woman with one breast exposed.

NPR member-station WAMU reports that the piece is now at the Gallery's conservation lab. The painting is on loan from the New York Metropolitan Museum.

WAMU reports that today:

... Experts from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery will examine the painting under a microscope.

"They'll look at it intensely — the surface — to make sure that there are no microfissures. The frame is fine, the painting looks fine initially as well," says Deborah Ziska, spokeswoman for the National Gallery.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.