a Gainsborough attacked, British landed gentry safe from stochastic terrorism

By ann summers

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‘The Morning Walk’ by Thomas Gainsborough shows an elegant young couple strolling through a woodland landscape, an attentive dog at the lady’s heel. William Hallett and Elizabeth Stephen were both aged 21 and due to be married in the summer of 1785, shortly after the painting was completed. Portraits of wealthy sitters posed in a natural setting and dressed in their finest (but not necessarily most practical) clothes were a popular status symbol.

No Mimosas were harmed in the vicious attack on the Gainsborough even as the tradition of attacks on famous artworks continues.

It has yet to be determined if the “lone wolf” assailant had terrorist ties, but due to his lack of fixed abode, he could be considered an immigrant acting on behalf of a foreign entity, or an iconoclast like Daesh, destroying pagan artifacts.

A wing of the National Gallery was evacuated on Saturday afternoon after a man attacked a Thomas Gainsborough painting with a screwdriver.

At about 2.15pm in the east wing of the gallery, a visitor attacked the 1785 painting Mr and Mrs William Hallett, better known as The Morning Walk….

The Morning Walk hangs in Room 34, which houses British paintings and was used as the setting for a covert meeting between Daniel Craig’s James Bond and Ben Whishaw’s equipment expert Q in the film Skyfall. The Gainsborough painting can be spotted over Craig’s shoulder as the pair admire a painting by Joseph Turner, The Fighting Temeraire, and discuss the high-tech weaponry Q has prepared for Bond.

The wing was evacuated and off-limits for about two hours and a man was arrested. On Sunday afternoon police announced they had charged Keith Gregory, 63, of no fixed abode, with causing criminal damage. He has been remanded to appear at Westminster magistrates court on Monday.

Hans-Joachim Bohlmann (1937–2009) was a German serial vandal. Between 1977 and 2006, he damaged over 50 paintings worth more than 270 million Deutsche Marks (about 138 million euros) by Rubens, Rembrandt, Dürer and other artists. Bohlmann had a personality disorder and was treated in various psychiatric hospitals since a young age. In most acts, he sprayed paintings with sulfuric acid, targeting faces of the personages.[3]

The use of bulletproof glass has shielded the Mona Lisa from more recent attacks. In April 1974, a handicapped woman, upset by the museum’s policy for the disabled, sprayed red paint at the painting while it was on display at the Tokyo National Museum.[6] On 2 August 2009, a Russian woman, distraught over being denied French citizenship, threw a terracotta mug or teacup, purchased at the museum, at the painting in the Louvre; the vessel shattered against the glass enclosure.[7][8] In both cases, the painting was undamaged.


Other works of art may be destroyed without the consent of the original artist or of the local community. In other instances, works of art may destroyed by a local authority against the wishes of the outside community. Examples of this include the removal of Diego Rivera‘s Man at the Crossroads mural from the Rockefeller Center and the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan statues by the Taliban government. More than 14 Gustav Klimt masterpieces burned in a fire set by retreating SS forces at Immendorf Castle in May 1945

Artworks destroyed in the September 11 attacks in the United States included a painted wood relief by Louise Nevelson, a painting from Roy Lichtenstein‘s Entablature series and a Joan Miró tapestry. The total value of artwork lost in the September 11 attacks is said to have been in excess of $100 million.[2]

If you happen to follow Ivanka Trump on Instagram, one thing you will notice, apart from the barrage of self-congratulatory motivational posts, is that many of her photos feature her carefully staged Upper East Side apartment. Her sense of style is notably understated, but every piece of furniture and décor, nonetheless, exudes affluence and her apartment is by almost anyone’s account, full of art.

The artists behind the works that appear in Trump’s Instagram posts have since become aware of her penchant for using their pieces as backdrops, and they are not too happy about it.

An activist group, led by Curator Alison Gingeras, dealer Bill Powers, and artist Jonathan Horowitz, among others, has rallied the artists to publicly voice their concern regarding her display of their works and her alignment with Donald Trump’s policies. The group developed the @Dear_Ivanka Instagram account and blog to provide a platform for artists and others to express their apprehension of a Trump presidency to Ivanka…

Last week, artist Alex Da Corte took to his own Instagram to re-post a picture of Trump in front of one of his works in her apartment with the caption, “Dear @Ivankatrump please get my work off of your walls. I am embarrassed to be seen with you.” The question remains though, would he actually have the ability to take any legal action to take back his art if he felt like his work was being used to support a message he did not?

The answer likely depends on the doctrine of moral rights or “droit morale,” a French-born concept that provides artists with broad ability to control the way their works are used. In the U.S. such rights – which are strictly confined to limited run works of visual art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, or still photographs produced for exhibition – are included in the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”). Significantly, the statute allows artists to invoke some “moral rights” for specific works of art even after the work is subject to private ownership.

The classic European scheme – upon which VARA is so heavily based – includes the following rights:

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  1. The right of disclosure or divulgation, which allows the artist to determine when a work is complete and may be displayed;
  2. The right of paternity or attribution, which allows an artist to protect the identification of his name with his own work, and to disclaim it when applied to another’s;
  3. The right of withdrawal, which permits the artist to modify or withdraw a work following publication; and
  4. The right of integrity, which allows the artist to prevent his work from being displayed in an altered, distorted, or mutilated form.

UPDATE (1/13/17): Richard Prince has taken action in connection with a work he sold to Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner in 2014 for $36,000, returning the money to the two young art collectors and denouncing his connection to it as a result.

The work at issue comes from Prince’s controversial Instagram series, “New Portraits,” for which he takes posts from others’ Instagram accounts, adds his own commentary and then prints them on canvas.

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This entry was posted in Art, England, History, Humor, Media, United Kingdom, War on "Terror", Weird Crime and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to a Gainsborough attacked, British landed gentry safe from stochastic terrorism

  1. Russell says:

    There is no damn good reason for someone to destroy art, books etc . There ought to be higher end penalties and higher end sentences. The subject here is art. I do not like some​. However I am not the custodian of the same but, sometimes force is needed to protect others property. Because of the actions of Few we live in a heighten police state.

  2. In 1972, a Hungarian geologist named Laszlo Toth attacked Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture in the Vatican. Toth used a hammer to deface the marble statue. He was never charged with a criminal offense. He was clearly mentally ill, probably a delusional schizophrenic. A year after the attack, a Roman court sentenced him to a minimum of two years confinement in a mental hospital. After his release, he was deported to Austria as an undesirable person. Toth was 32 at the time of the attack. He died in 2012 at the age of 72.

    The statue had been commissioned in 1498. Michangelo carved the masterpiece out of a single slab of Carrera marble from a quarry in Tuscany.

    The Vatican called in the best stonecarvers, sculptors and art restorers in the world to repair the damage. Ten months after Toth hit the statue twelve times with a hammer, the restored statue went back on display, but this time behind protective glass.

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