A Russian artist cheekily wrote ‘Vladimir Umanets, a potential piece of yellowism’ on the Rothko original Saturday. The man, who also goes by Vladimir Umanets, admitted to the crime on Sunday night. He claims the value of the painting will go up after the graffiti is removed due to his actions.

Tim Wright witnessed the vandalism and posted a picture on Twitter in the aftermath. “This guy calmly walked up, took out a marker pen, and tagged it. Surreal,” he said. The man then ran out of the gallery and evaded capture from security.

The message is said to be a reference to Umanets’s blog about conceptual art, thisisyellowism.com.

The artist donated the piece, called ‘Black on Maroon’, to the Tate Modern in 1969. Rothko specified that the art should not be surrounded by glass and only protected by a short divider, easily stepped over. The paining was part of a series done for New York’s Seagram building and never installed. 

Museum conservationists are currently assessing the damage.

Julia Nagle, an art conservator herself, has spoken out saying that due to the painting’s old age, ‘the new paint is much more soluble’ and easily taken off.

Somewhere in Spain, the woman who ruined the painting of Jesus in her attempt to restore it is breathing a sigh of relief as the anger of the art world shifts its focus.

Image via Getty.