Probation for Colorado woman who slid buttocks across $30 million painting

DENVER Thu May 31, 2012 9:29pm EDT

Carmen Tisch, who is charged with criminal mischief, is seen in this Denver County Jail booking photograph released to Reuters on January 4, 2012. The charges allege that on December 29, 2011, Tisch approached a painting and proceeded to scratch, hit and lean against the painting at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado. The value of the painting is estimated at between $30 and $40 million dollars and the treatment cost for restoration purposes is currently estimated at about $10,000. REUTERS/Denver District Attorney's Office/Handout

Carmen Tisch, who is charged with criminal mischief, is seen in this Denver County Jail booking photograph released to Reuters on January 4, 2012. The charges allege that on December 29, 2011, Tisch approached a painting and proceeded to scratch, hit and lean against the painting at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado. The value of the painting is estimated at between $30 and $40 million dollars and the treatment cost for restoration purposes is currently estimated at about $10,000.

Credit: Reuters/Denver District Attorney's Office/Handout

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DENVER (Reuters) - A woman who punched, scratched and slid her buttocks against a $30 million painting by abstract expressionist Clyfford Still at a Denver museum has been sentenced to two years of probation, and will have to undergo mental health treatment, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Carmen Tisch, 37, pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony criminal mischief for striking at and leaning against the oil-on-canvas painting "1957-J No. 2" at the Clyfford Still Museum last year, the Denver District Attorney's Office said.

After causing an estimated $10,000 worth of damage to the painting, an intoxicated Tisch then pulled down her pants, slid her buttocks against the painting and urinated on the museum floor, prosecutors said.

A judge sentenced Tisch to two years probation and she must also undergo mental health treatment and receive help for alcohol dependency as a condition of her sentence. She may still face a restitution hearing.

The North Dakota-born Still was considered one of the most influential post-World War Two American abstract expressionist artists, but he was not as famous as contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock.

Still died in 1980, and Denver officials worked for decades with his widow, Patricia, to secure a single-artist museum featuring his works. When she died in 2005, she bequeathed her husband's collection to the city.

Four of his works were auctioned by Sotheby's for $114 million to endow the museum, which opened in late 2011.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)

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