Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Attack on urinal work brings fine

Replica of Marcel Duchamp's Fountain
Duchamp's Fountain is considered a landmark work

A Frenchman who attacked an artist's celebrated porcelain urinal with a hammer has been ordered to pay a fine of 214,000 euros (147,000).

The Paris court also gave Pierre Pinoncelli, 77, a three-month suspended sentence for the attack last month which left the urinal slightly cracked.

The attack happened at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

The work by artist Marcel Duchamp, called Fountain, is said to be worth around 2.8m euros (1.9m).

It was on display as part of an exhibition on the early 20th Century Dada movement, which shunned conventional artistic standards. Duchamp was a leader of the movement.

In a December 2004 poll of art experts, the urinal was named the most influential modern art work of all time.

This was Mr Pinoncelli's second attack on Fountain. In 1993 he urinated on it at an exhibition in Nimes, southern France.

The Paris court on Tuesday told Mr Pinoncelli to pay an additional 14,352 euros (9,867) to repair the exhibit.

Mr Pinoncelli, a former salesman, had argued that the attack was a work of performance art and he had made Fountain, one of eight versions of the piece, an original.

The judge disagreed and told him to respect other people's property.

Art attacks

In other cases where artworks were vandalised:

  • In 2003 a London court jailed Paul Kelleher for an attack on a statue of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Kelleher, who decapitated the statue with a cricket bat, was sentenced to three months.

  • In the US, Dennis Heiner was fined $250 dollars for his December 1999 attack on a painting by Chris Ofili, The Holy Virgin Mary. He smeared it with white paint because it offended him.

  • Dutch painter Rembrandt's The Night Watch was slashed by an unemployed teacher in September 1975. The attack left strips of the canvas on the floor. In 1990, a man sprayed sulphuric acid on it, damaging the varnish.

Duchamp's urinal tops art survey
01 Dec 04 |  Entertainment

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