Art Attacker Allegedly Targets Matisse

By Matthew Stabley
|  Sunday, Aug 14, 2011  |  Updated 4:16 PM EDT
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Attack on Art

Henri Matisse/National Gallery of Art

Henri Matisse The Plumed Hat, 1919 oil on canvas National Gallery of Art, Washington Chester Dale Collection

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Attack on Art

A northern Virginia woman was arrested after she allegedly tried to destroy an $80 million painting at the National Gallery of Art.
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A woman barred from the National Gallery of Art for allegedly trying to destroy an $80 million painting in April is at it again, according to court documents.

On Aug. 5, Susan Burns grabbed both sides of “The Plumed Hat” by Henri Matisse and slammed it against the wall three times, according to an affidavit. The $2.5 million painting did not appear to be damaged, but the antique original frame, valued at more than $250, was damaged.

Because Burns had signed an indefinite barring notice in June, she was charged with unlawful entry and found to be in contempt of court.

In April, Burns, of Alexandria, Va., attacked Paul Gauguin’s $80 million “Two Tahitian Women,” screaming, “This is evil!” as she tried to pull it from the wall and banged on the clear plastic cover. That painting wasn’t damaged, either.

After her arrest in April, Burns told investigators she thought the painting was evil, pornographic and homosexual in nature. She said she works for the CIA and has a radio in her head, according to investigators.
 

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