Washington painting defaced


Published: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 12:51 a.m.
NEW YORK - The famous oil painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River was vandalized at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, allegedly by a former museum employee who glued on a computer image depicting a fake view of the World Trade Center attack.
Emanuel Leutze's 1851 "Washington Crossing the Delaware" was quickly cleaned after Saturday's incident, the museum said.
"Conservators were brought to the scene within 15 minutes" after the painting was defaced, museum spokesman Harold Holzer said Friday. "It didn't leave any damage."
Holzer said the alleged suspect, Robert Gray, 41, was a security guard who had worked briefly for the museum and for its upper-Manhattan branch, the Cloisters.
Gray managed to elude security guards Saturday but he was recognized when he returned there Thursday afternoon, Holzer said.
Police said Gray was charged with felony criminal mischief.
Holzer said the computer image glued onto the painting showed a phony photo of a man standing at the trade center with a jet flying toward it. The paper, about 8 by 11 inches, was affixed with a water-soluble glue to the bottom right corner - "in the icy waters of the Delaware River" - of the huge 12-foot-by-20-foot painting.
The painting's famous Revolutionary War scene depicts Washington's attack on Hessian mercenaries at Trenton on Dec. 25, 1776.
It shows Washington standing in a boat and James Madison holding an American flag as they're rowed across the Delaware.
According to the Met's description of the painting, it was exhibited in New York the same year it was painted and purchased for the then-enormous sum of $10,000.
The painting is the second version the German-American artist painted of the historic event. The first version was damaged in his studio during a fire in 1850. It was restored, but was later damaged again.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top