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Visitor tears Picasso's 'The Actor.' How can Met fix it?

A visitor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York lost her balance and fell into a Pablo Picasso painting, 'The Actor,' tearing the canvas. Art restorers explain how it might be repaired.

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Art restorers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will soon begin repairs to a prominent Pablo Picasso painting damaged by a visitor last week in an unusual accident.

A visitor attending a class at the museum last Friday lost her balance and fell into the canvas, creating a 6-inch tear in the lower right hand corner of “The Actor,” a more than 6-foot tall painting depicting a pink-hued acrobat.

The painting was immediately taken to the Met’s paintings conservation department, where masterpieces are brought for cleaning, restoration, and in rare cases, repair, the museum said in a statement. Some reports put the painting's value at $130 million. Another Picasso picture from 1905, "Garcon à la Pipe," sold for $104.2 million at Sotheby's in 2004.

The 1904-1905 painting from Picasso's so-called rose period is expected to be repaired in time for the museum’s upcoming exhibition, “Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," featuring 250 of the artist's works.

While there is no right way to repair a painting – each piece demands a different approach – some principles are paramount in the fine art of art restoration, experts say.

First, do no harm


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