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Man arrested over Rothko painting defacement

  • A man has been arrested in connection with the defacement of a Mark Rothko painting at London’s Tate Modern gallery.

    The 26-year-old was held in Worthing by Sussex Police on suspicion of causing criminal damage, according to a statement released by the Metropolitan Police.

    Earlier a Russian man named Vladimir Umanets who had claimed responsibility for defacing the artwork told the BBC: "I'm not a vandal."

    The arrested man is believed to be Umanets.

    Tim Wright, an eyewitness, wrote on Twitter that he saw the incident take place on Sunday and posted a photograph of the damaged canvas online.

    "Very bizarre, he sat there for a while then just went for it and made a quick exit," Wright wrote. "This guy calmly walked up, took out a marker pen and tagged it. Surreal."

    Words were scribbled with black paint on the painting, Black on Maroon.

    Rothko is considered to be one of the 20th century's most important artists. His works fetch tens of millions of dollars at auctions.

    The American artist was commissioned to paint the Seagram murals in 1958 for Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant, thought they were never installed.

    Shortly before his death in 1970, he presented some of the murals to the Tate Gallery.