A ‘bored’ security guard allegedly ruined a $1 million painting on his first day at work – after he drew eyes on its faceless figures.
The Three Figures painting, by Anna Leporskaya, was recently on exhibit at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The faces on the three figures were blank until a ‘bored’ security guard drew eyes on it using a ballpoint pen, The Guardian reported.
The Three Figures was painted between 1932 and 1934, and had been insured for 75m roubles.
The incident reportedly took place on December 7, 2021, when it was displayed in an exhibition called ‘The World as Non-Objectivity, The Birth of a New Art’.
Alexander Drozdov, the executive director of the Yeltsin Center, did not identify the security guard in a statement, but it is believed he worked for a private security company. The exhibition’s curator, Anna Reshetkina, said the painting was vandalised “with a Yeltsin Center-branded pen”.
“His motives are still unknown but the administration believes it was some kind of a lapse in sanity,” she said.
“The ink has slightly penetrated into the paint layer, since the titanium white used to paint the faces is not covered with author’s varnish, as is often the case in abstract painting of that time,” Ivan Petrov wrote in the Art Newspaper.
“Fortunately, the vandal drew with a pen without strong pressure, and therefore the relief of the strokes as a whole was not disturbed. The left figure also had a small crumble of the paint layer up to the underlying layer on the face.”
It has been reported that the company where the security guard worked is paying for the restoration.
The Yeltsin Center said in a statement released: “We inform you that during the investigation, the person who painted the eyes on the figures in the painting by Anna Leporskaya was identified – this is an employee of a private security organisation that carries out security activities of the Yeltsin Center.”
“Recall that on December 7, 2021, during the demonstration of the exhibition ‘The World as Non-Objectiveness. The Birth of a New Art’ in the Art Gallery of the Yeltsin Center suffered a painting by Anna Leporskaya ‘Three Figures’ (1932–1934) from the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery. The damage was done with a ballpoint pen,” the statement added.