Dallas Museum of Art: Man Breaks into and Damages Several Artworks

Written by Zoe Sottile, CNN

Several ancient works of art at the Dallas Museum of Art, including Greek ships created thousands of years ago, were damaged by an intruder Wednesday night.

“On June 1, after museum hours, a person forcibly entered the Dallas Museum of Art,” the museum said in a statement.

“Museum security responded immediately and the Dallas Police Department took the person into custody at the scene.”

CNN has not received a response to a request for comment from the Dallas Police Department.

In a statement shared with CNN, museum director Agustin Arteaga said the intruder was unarmed and no one was injured in the incident. However, three ceramic Greek vessels and a Native American contemporary ceramic piece were “seriously damaged,” Arteaga said. And less than a dozen smaller pieces in the same glass case may have “taken minor damage.”

The three Greek vessels include a black drinking cup called a “kylix” from 550-530 BC decorated with a mythical scene, a 6th century BC amphora depicting the Trojan War, and a lidded lid called a “pyxis” from 450 BC, decorated with red figures in scenes related to marriage and gender dynamics.
Also seriously damaged was a ceramic bottle in the shape of a garfish, made by Native American ceramic artist Chase Kahwinhut Earles.

“The entire collection is invaluable in the shared experiences and inspiration it provides to our visitors,” Arteaga said in the statement.

The museum found that the extent of the damage as well as the total monetary value of the damage is still unknown.

Aschelle Morgan, director of communications and public relations at the museum, told CNN they are working to determine if any of the damaged pieces can be recovered.

“In terms of assessing the opportunity for restoration and values, our internal audit is continuously working in conjunction with our underwriters and trustees,” Morgan said.

“While it is too early to call on what can be fixed, we are fortunate to have an incredibly talented team of experts who will do their best to salvage what is possible.”

Museum director Arteaga added that an early estimate of $5 million in damage is likely to exceed the true value.

“While no one can provide an official dollar figure at this early stage of the audit, we expect the actual total could be a fraction of the original $5 million estimate,” Arteaga said. “We remain grateful that no one was injured and for the great work of the Dallas Police Department.”

The incident comes just days after the world-famous Mona Lisa was the target of an attempted vandalism at the Louvre in Paris. A visitor threw a cake at the painting’s protective glass, but the masterpiece was not damaged.

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