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National Gallery Of Art Examines Attacked Painting

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Paul Gauguin, "Two Tahitian Women", 1899, oil on canvas, framed: 121.9 x 101.6 x 9.5 cm (48 x 40 x 3 3/4 in.), unframed: 94 x 75.4 cm (37 x 29 11/16 in.), Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of William Church Osborn, 1949.
National Gallery of Art
Paul Gauguin, "Two Tahitian Women", 1899, oil on canvas, framed: 121.9 x 101.6 x 9.5 cm (48 x 40 x 3 3/4 in.), unframed: 94 x 75.4 cm (37 x 29 11/16 in.), Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of William Church Osborn, 1949.

Gallery officials say a woman visiting the gallery attacked the 1899 painting of two bare-breasted Tahitian women Friday afternoon. The woman pounded her fists against the painting's plexiglass covering several times.

A security guard at the museum restrained and detained the woman. She was later charged with destruction of property and second-degree attempted theft. The woman appeared in U.S. District Court on Saturday.

Monday the piece was taken to the gallery's conservation lab, where experts from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery will examine the painting under a microscope.

"They'll look at it intensely -- the surface to make sure there aren't any microfissures. Initial examination of the frame the frame is fine. The painting looks fine initially as well," says Deborah Ziska, spokeswoman for the National Gallery.

Ziska says the oil painting is on loan from the Met and is part of a Gauguin exhibit that runs through June 5.

The painting is among Gauguin's most popular, according to the National Gallery. A statement from the Gallery describes the painting as "Gauguin's mythical idea of Tahiti as a paradise of beautiful, mysterious women."

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