After an important Pablo Picasso painting was damaged at one of London’s most notable museums, a man could face criminal charges.

This past weekend, Pablo Picasso’s 1944 painting Bust of a Woman was reportedly ripped at the Tate Modern. The person suspected of vandalizing the painting is Shakeel Ryan Massey, a 20-year-old man from London, who was charged with criminal damage on December 28. According to the Guardian, Massey has said he will deny the charge.

The work was created during the Nazi occupation of Paris and is now valued at £20 million (about $26.3 million). The piece depicts the photographer Dora Maar, the artist’s lover and muse, wearing bright green clothing and a hat. The painting, which is on long-term loan to the museum from a private collection, was attacked on Saturday and has been taken off view.

Tate Modern said in a statement that the work “is with our conservation team for expert assessment” and that the museum will remain open. A Tate representative did not respond to ARTnews’s request for comment on the painting’s condition.

Massey has been denied bail before his pre-trial hearing, which will take place on January 30 in London.

Picasso painted Bust of a Woman in his studio at Rue des Grands-Augustins in the French capital, the same space he had created the large-scale painting Guernica. It is one of several images of Maar that Picasso painted during the course of his career.

This is not the only controversy Tate Modern has weathered over the past year. In 2019, a young boy was thrown from a 10th-floor viewing platform at the museum. A teenager accused of throwing the child has since pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder.



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