$100m Picasso damaged by clumsy student

It's sometimes said that some people do not know the difference between a Picasso and a car crash - and one person has seemed set on making the difference less clear.

In New York's Metropolitan Museum (the 'Met') yesterday, a woman attending an art class fell against a work Picasso painted in 1904. It was one of his earlier works, painted when he was 23, and he re-used a canvas to create it as he could not afford a new one. 

Several experts have estimated that the painting is worth a nine figure sum.

The fall caused a 5.9 inches tear in the lower, right hand corner of the painting. Museum officials say that it does not affect the work's focal point, and they are hopeful that the repairs will be unobtrusive, and completed long before April 27 when a 250 painting Picasso retrospective is planned.

The damaged oil painting depicts an actor in a dramatic pose (now appearing slightly to stare down at the damage) and is from Picasso's Rose period. The period is so named because from 1904-6, the artist painted using mostly cheerful hues of pink and orange.

The incident in the Met recalls another in 2006 when entrepreneur and art collector Steve Wynn put his elbow through Picasso's Le Rêve painting, as he was announcing his intention to sell it for $139m.

Art lovers may be interested to know that a work by Picasso (valued at a mere £5.5m) is coming up for auction at Christie's on February 2, though they should be aware that diving headlong into it, for example, is likely to be frowned upon.

Alternatively, a piece of art by 'Picasso's Muse', Francoise Gilot, is currently available.


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