Picasso painting of Dora Maar vandalised at Tate Modern

Conservation team assesses the defaced work; man is charged with criminal damage

Bust of a Woman (1944), Pablo Picasso Steve Vidler/Alamy

A painting by Picasso housed at Tate Modern in London is undergoing conservation after a visitor to the gallery defaced the work. Shakeel Ryan Massey, who is based in north London, appeared at a magistrates court in London earlier this week allegedly charged with damaging Bust of a Woman (1944), according to the Guardian which reports that Massey indicated he would deny the charge. The work depicts Picasso’s lover and muse, Dora Maar; it is owned by a private collector, and has been on loan to Tate Modern since 2011.

Tate said in a statement: “The person was swiftly apprehended and has been charged. Police are investigating. The work of art is with our conservation team for expert assessment.” The Tate did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: “Detectives investigating an incident of criminal damage at the Tate Modern, Bankside, on Saturday, 28 December have charged a man.”

According to Tate: “In Bust of a Woman, Maar is shown wearing a hat and green clothing, and sits on a black metal chair. The angular and planar structure of her face are achieved with a linear simplicity, allowing for the contrasting orientation of nose and mouth. This configuration occurs repeatedly in the sequence of 1944 portraits of which this is one.”