Suspects detained for vandalising Monet painting

10th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - One of the five suspects detained over a break-in at the Musee d'Orsay that left a Monet painting damaged, knew how to gain access to the museum because of his job, Culture Minister Christine Albanel said Tuesday.

10 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - One of the five suspects detained over a break-in at the Musee d'Orsay that left a Monet painting damaged, knew how to gain access to the museum because of his job, Culture Minister Christine Albanel said Tuesday.

"According to the information the ministry has, one of the five had, for professional reasons, knowledge of various ways into the museum," said Albanel in a statement.

Officers questioned four men and a woman early Tuesday after one of them admitted to punching the painting while drunk, a source close to the investigation said.

The damage was done to the Impressionist painter Claude Monet's "Le pont d'Argenteuil" (The bridge at Argenteuil), which was on display on the ground floor of the Musee d'Orsay, on the Left Bank.

The canvas was ripped over at least 10 centimetres (four inches), according to the culture ministry.

Security cameras showed five people, acting in a drunken manner, forcing a door to gain entry just before midnight on Saturday.

The incident occurred as more than a million people thronged the streets of Paris for the annual "Nuit Blanche", or White Night festival, in which music and cultural events are staged throughout the night.

That same night, France's victory over New Zealand in the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup had sparked raucous celebrations.

Earlier, Albanel had called for tougher penalties to protect museums, churches and monuments against vandalism following the Musee d'Orsay break-in.

Monet's "Le pont d'Argenteuil" was painted in 1874 and shows sailboats moored before a bridge over the river Seine west of Paris.

The Musee d'Orsay, opened in 1986 in a former railway station, contains France's largest collection of late 19th and early 20th century art.

Several recent incidents have raised questions over the security of works of art in French museums.

On Tuesday, a woman appeared in court after she painted a lipstick kiss in July on a picture by the American Cy Twombly in the southern city of Avignon.

AFP

Subject: French news

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