Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Met Visitor's Picasso Stumble is $65 Million Oops: Expert


This may be the most expensive stumble ever.

A Metropolitan Museum of Art visitor who lost her balance and tore a hole in a Picasso work Monday slashed the painting's $130 million value in half, an expert told the New York Post.

The 6-inch tear in Picasso's "The Actor" happened after a woman stumbled into the Met work, leaving it with a mark that could mean the painting could never be restored to its original condition, appraiser Gerard van Weyenbergh said.

"It's a 50 percent loss of the value -- at least," said van Weyenbergh.

"When an artwork comes up in auction, that's the first thing people want to know -- were there any repaints or restorations," the expert told the Post.

The six-foot by four-foot painting was hanging on the second floor when the woman fell, leaving the half-foot gash in the lower right-hand corner of the painting.

The "small hole" could mean that avid collectors -- van Weyenberg cited Steven Spielberg as one -- won't be interested in the tainted work, according to the art expert.

Met officials didn't identify the woman who made the $65 million oops but said they would have the painting restored later this year.

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