Denver woman accused of damaging painting worth millions

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DENVER — A 36-year-old woman faces a felony charge of criminal mischief for allegedly damaging a multi-million dollar painting at Denver’s new Clyfford Still Museum.

Police say Carmen Tisch approached the painting and scratched the canvas and struck it repeatedly with her fists. She then leaned against it, took her pants down and urinated on the museum floor, according to the police report.

The painting, identified as 1957-J No. 2, is one of Still’s premier works. It is valued at $60 million.

“The treatment cost for restoration purposes is currently estimated at about $10,000,” said DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

Clyfford Still’s paintings were bequeathed to Denver with the stipulation that the city build a museum to hold the art work. Still’s paintings are so valuable the city of Denver only had to sell four to raise the $25 million necessary to build the museum to house the artist’s works.

Tisch, who has an extensive criminal history, worked as a tattoo artist for six years before friends say she was fired three months ago for “being strung out.” They can explain why she would want to run a painting so priceless that it was featured on the PBS Newshour.

Tisch remained in custody at the Denver County Jail on Wednesday with bond set at $20,000.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

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