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Intruders at Paris' Orsay damage a Monet

PARIS (AP) — Intruders entered the Orsay Museum early Sunday and punched a hole in a renowned work by Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the French culture minister said. She described the damage as an attack on "our memory, our patrimony."

A surveillance camera caught a group entering the museum, which houses a major collection of Impressionist art on the Left Bank of the French capital along the Seine River. An alarm sounded and the group left, but not before damaging an invaluable painting, "Le Pont d'Argenteuil," an aide to Culture Minister Christine Albanel said by telephone. No arrests were immediately made.

Albanel told France-Info radio that the painting could be restored, but she deplored the attack on "our memory, our patrimony."

"This splendid Monet painting punched right in the middle," the minister said with emotion.

According to the aide, a 4-inch tear was made in the Monet. The official, not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, asked not to be named. Monet led the 19th century Impressionist movement, experimenting notably with light and color in works now deemed priceless.

"Le Pont d'Argenteuil" shows a view of the Seine at a rural bend, featuring a bridge and boats. Albanel told France-Info that she would seek improved security in museums and stronger sanctions against those who desecrate art. The break-in occurred during Paris' annual all-night festival which brings thousands of people into the streets for concerts and exhibits.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007 at 4:23 PM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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