Oops! Museum Visitor's Fall Damages Rare Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Actor
Pablo Picasso's Rose period painting "The Actor" (1904-1905) was accidentally damaged by a visitor to the Met on Friday, Jan. 22. [Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art]
NEW YORK — It probably could've happened to any of us, so just be thankful it wasn't you! A visitor attending a class at the Metropolitan Museum Art on Friday afternoon lost her balance and fell directly onto a Pablo Picasso painting. And yes, the rare artwork was damaged in the process.

In a statement released Jan. 24, the Met said, "The accident resulted in an irregular vertical tear of about six inches in length in the lower right-hand corner. The painting was taken immediately to the Museum's paintings conservation studio for assessment and treatment. Fortunately, the damage did not occur in a focal point of the composition, and the curatorial and conservation staffs fully expect that the repair — which will take place in the coming weeks — will be unobtrusive."

The painting entitled The Actor was created in the winter of 1904-1905, during Picasso's famous Rose period, a time when the artist's palette consisted of cheerful orange and pink hues as opposed to the cool, somber tones of his previous Blue Period. The image of the costumed acrobat was painted on a nearly 6x4-foot canvas which Picasso had already used for another painting.

Museum officials expect to have The Actor restored in time to include the painting in their forthcoming exhibition Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, slated to open April 27.


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