Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Woman in Court for kissing Painting

Kiss on $2.8M painting more than just a kiss
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | 3:16 PM ET
CBC News

What price a kiss? That's the question a French court is trying to decide in the case of a woman who kissed an all-white painting by American artist Cy Twombly.

Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old French artist, went on trial Tuesday in Avignon, France, on charges of voluntarily damaging a work of art.

Far from an act of vandalism, Sam says, her kiss was an "act of love."

"I didn't think. When I kissed it, I thought the artist would have understood," Sam said during her trial. She said she had been "overcome with passion" on seeing the untitled work.

Prosecutors do not agree. The lipstick left behind by the impulsive kiss is still on the painting and restorers have yet to find a way to remove it.

They called for the judge to levy a fine of 4,500 euros ($6,240) and requested that Sam attend a course on good citizenship.

The painting, which is worth an estimated $2,830,000, is owned by collector Yvon Lambert. He was asking for $2,878,000 in damages, which included the value of the painting and the $47,000 restoration cost.

Twombly is known for his abstract paintings combining painting and drawing techniques, repetitive lines and the use of graffiti, letters and words.

Born in Lexington, Va., in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

Tuesday's trial comes just days after another painting — French Impressionist painter Claude Monet's "Le Pont d'Argenteuil" — was vandalized. Intruders, apparently drunk, broke into Paris' Orsay Museum early Sunday and punched a hole in the renowned work.

French Culture Minister Christine Albanel, reacting to Sunday's incident, pledged to seek improved security in museums and stronger sanctions against those who desecrate art.

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