National Gallery's Gauguin Painting Attacked by Woman

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A visitor at Washington DC's National Gallery of Art tried to pull an 1899 painting by Paul Gauguin off the wall on Friday afternoon, screaming, "This is evil."

"She was really pounding it with her fists," witness Pamela Degotardi tells the Washington Post. "It was like this weird surreal scene that one doesn't expect at the National Gallery."

The woman reportedly banged on the painting with her fists and tried to yank it off the wall until she was tackled by another museum-goer.

The post-impressionist painting, Gauguin's "Two Tahitian Women," shows two women, one with both breasts showing, the other with one bare breast. The painting is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of a 120-piece Gauguin exhibit, titled "Gaugin: Maker of Myth" that has been showing since February.

The unidentified woman was charged with destruction of property and attempted theft, Debrorah Ziska, a spokeswoman for the National Gallery, tells the Post. According tot he paper, she appeared in court on Saturday but no details were available.

Ziska tells the Post the incident is a rare one at the gallery, and that he could not recall a similar case in the past 20 years.

No damage to the painting – which is covered in clear plastic – was immediately visible, but a more thorough examination will take place today.

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