Bored security guard wrecks $1.4m artwork on his first day

March 2, 2022 2:37 pm in by


A security guard contracted to an art gallery deliberately ruined a $1.4m artwork on his first day of work. Can you spot what he did?

Three Figures, a painting from the early 1930s created by Russian artist, Anna Leporskaya, was on display at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

It was a part of a special exhibition titled, ‘The World as Non-Objectivity. The Birth of a New Art’.

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The piece of art was on loan from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and was allegedly insured for around $1.4 million.

During his first shift at the Yeltsin Center, a security guard decided to doodle on the artwork out of sheer boredom.

The employee was hired by an external security company, and reportedly used a ballpoint pen to make an unwelcome addition to the painting.

Can you spot the difference?


Source: The Art Newspaper Russia

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Yep, the security guard decided two pairs of eyes would complete the piece.


The guard drew dotted eyes on two of the three figures with a pen.

According to Daily Mail Online, “it was two eagle-eyed exhibition visitors who spotted the added-on eyes to two of the three faceless figures on the 1930s painting.”

The guard was – understandably – let go.

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Onlookers have commented on the remixed version of Three Figures, with one Twitter user suggesting that the culprit should’ve used “googly eyes” instead of a biro.

Another admitted that they actually “like it better with the eyes.”

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Since the incident in early December last year, the Yeltsin Center has released a statement:

“We inform you that during the investigation, the person who painted the eyes on the figures in the painting by Anna Leporskaya was identified — this is an employee of a private security organization that carries out security activities of the Yeltsin Center.

Recall that on December 7, 2021, during the demonstration of the exhibition ‘The World as Non-Objectiveness. The Birth of a New Art’ in the Art Gallery of the Yeltsin Center suffered a painting by Anna Leporskaya ‘Three Figures’ (1932–1934) from the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery. The damage was done with a ballpoint pen.”

In what is now an odd coincidence given the current unrest in Eastern Europe, the Soviet avant-garde artist responsible for the esteemed painting was actually born in Ukraine in February 1900, and 82 years later died in Russia.

She was a recipient of many awards, including Honored Artist of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic 

Thankfully the damage to Leporskaya’s artwork is reversible, with the complete restoration process costing approximately $5,000.

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 Images: The Art Newspaper Russia & Pexels


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