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Pablo Picasso, Bust of a Woman, 1944. Photo: Allie_Caulfield/Flickr.

Suspect in Picasso Painting Attack Charged in London

A man who allegedly attacked a $26 million Pablo Picasso painting while it was on display at Tate Modern in London on Saturday was charged with criminal damage, the BBC reports. The defaced work, Bust of a Woman, 1944, was ripped during the incident. The museum has not yet commented on the extent of the damage but said the canvas is currently being assessed by its team of conservators.

The suspect, Shakeel Massey, a twenty-year-old man from north London, was apprehended shortly after the attack and appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on December 30. The motivation behind the crime is unclear. Massey was denied bail and will remain in custody until his pre-trial hearing, which is scheduled for January 30 at Inner London Crown Court. The museum declined to elaborate further on the incident, citing the ongoing police investigation.

The artwork is a portrait of Picasso’s lover and muse Dora Maar and was painted in the artist’s studio at Rue des Grands-Augustins in Paris on May 5, 1944, during the final months of the Nazi occupation. Rendered in a semi-abstract style, it shows Maar wearing a green dress and a bonnet and sitting in a black metal chair against a backdrop of vertical and horizontal lines. The work, which is on loan from a private collection, has been on view since 2011.