Vandal Arrested After Scribbling Moustache on Priceless Fragonard Painting in France

The perpetrator struck on more than one occasion.

The Three Graces
<br>Photo: via Le Parisen

The mystery vandal drew a moustache on one painting and made a hole in the other
Photo: via Le Parisien

Charges have been brought against an unnamed vandal after the repeated defacing of paintings at the Villa-Musée Jean-Honoré Fragonard in Grasse, south of France.

Le Figaro reports that a painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a respected Rococo master, reproductions of his work, and additional artworks by François Gérard and François-André Vincent have all been defaced using felt tip and ballpoint pen.

Circular scribbles, long lines of felt pen, and ill-executed moustaches can clearly be seen on the canvases. Moreover, one painting now has a large hole right at its center.

<br> Photo: via Le Figaro

One of the defaced artworks (left) and the exterior of the museum (right).
Photo: via Le Figaro

The perpetrator struck on more than one occasion, starting on September 25. On October 19, further damage was noticed. Despite the repeated incidents, nothing was mentioned publicly, until the Mayor of Grasse confirmed the puzzling acts on October 25 via a public statement.

The identity of the vandal has not been disclosed, despite the City of Grasse bringing charges against him or her. There has been no explanation or insights into the motives of the attack either.

The museum was the home of Fragonard’s cousin Alexandre Maubert, which he shared with the artist and his family. The house was sold to the City of Grasse 20 years ago, and sections of the house were then converted into a museum dedicated to Fragonard and his descendants, many of whom were also painters.


The Three Graces

The museum re-opened this spring, following a program of restoration that took over a year.

It seems that vandalizing artworks has become an unfortunate trend in France, with the daubing of hate speech on Anish Kapoor’s Dirty Corner (2015) and now this. There have also been incidents in the United States and religiously motivated acts in Russia.

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