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DUCHAMP'S URINAL
TATE MODERN  /  AFP/Getty Images
A copy of Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain," from the Tate Modern in London. An elderly man from Provence allegedly attacked the original Thursday in Paris.
updated 1/6/2006 9:57:52 AM ET 2006-01-06T14:57:52

A 76-year-old performance artist was arrested after attacking Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” — a porcelain urinal — with a hammer, police said.

Duchamp’s 1917 piece — an ordinary white, porcelain urinal that’s been called one of the most influential works of modern art — was slightly chipped in the attack at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the museum said Thursday. It was removed from the exhibit for repair.

The suspect, a Provence resident whose identity was not released, already vandalized the work in 1993 — urinating into the piece when it was on display in Nimes, in southern France, police said.

During questioning, the man claimed his hammer attack on Wednesday was a work of performance art that might have pleased Dada artists. The early 20th-century avant-garde movement was the focus of the exhibit that ends Monday, police said.

A 2004 poll of 500 arts figures ranked “Fountain” as the most influential work of modern art — ahead of Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” Andy Warhol’s screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and “Guernica,” Picasso’s depiction of war’s devastation.

“Fountain” is estimated at $3.6 million.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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