On the damage to the Pont d’Argenteuil

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Argenteuil’s Bridge (before vandalism)
Oil on canvas - 60,5 x 80 cm
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

9/10/07 — Vandalism — Paris, Musée d’Orsay — Everyone has heard by now that the canvas of Claude Monet’s painting Le Pont d’Argenteuil (ill.) was punched in by drunken vandals who forced their way into the museum late Saturday night. The incident was mentioned in all the media. Although the damage is real, the work can be restored without too much trouble since a piece of the canvas was not torn off.
The transparency with which the Musée d’Orsay announced the act is to be commended and very much in contrast with the Louvre which has itself been the victim of several even more serious incidents of this style (see article on La Tribune de l’Art (in french) August 9, 2007) but has preferred to keep them under wraps.
Congratulations are also in order for the way in which the Minister of Culture once again stated her intention to ask for stronger sentences for vandals and thieves. To this effect, according to AFP, Christine Albanel pointed out that “a task force was being formed in conjunction with the Office central des biens culturels (Central office for cultural goods) and the French Mayors’ Association to strengthen security of cultural goods”. An end to the current impunity for vandalism is long overdue.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 9 octobre 2007

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