Gauguin painting in Washington DC attacked by woman

Image caption,
Two Tahitian Women is to be put back on display on Tuesday morning

A woman who attacked a painting by Paul Gauguin hanging in the National Gallery in Washington DC said the French artist was "evil", court records show.

Susan Burns pounded Two Tahitian Women and tried to rip it from a gallery wall on Friday, officials said.

The 1899 painting, which depicts two women's bare breasts, was behind a plastic cover and was unharmed.

She was charged with attempted theft and destruction of property and is being held pending a mental evaluation.

On Friday afternoon the accused slammed her hands against the plexiglass cover between the canvas and the frame.

'Beautiful, mysterious women'

A museum security officer intervened and detained her.

Ms Burns, 53, from Virginia, told police she thought the painting should be burned, according to court records.

"I feel that Gauguin is evil," she was quoted as telling police.

"He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual."

The 94cm by 75.4cm (37in by 30in) oil-on-canvas painting is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

It went back on display on Tuesday morning.

The work depicts two serene, golden-skinned Tahitian women offering a bowl of flowers.

"The painting captures Gauguin's mythical idea of Tahiti as a paradise of beautiful, mysterious women," museum curators write.

The incident was the first act of vandalism at the museum since the 1970s, when over the course of about five years, one man destroyed a Renaissance-era chair and another defaced 25 works, including by Renoir and Henri Matisse, with a "sharp object", National Gallery spokeswoman Deborah Ziska told the BBC.

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