AVIGNON, France – A kiss is just a kiss — except when it isn't.
A woman who puckered up and left a red lipstick stain on an all-white painting by American artist Cy Twombly was convicted Friday of "voluntarily damaging a work of art" and ordered to do 100 hours of community service.
The court in Avignon, southern France, also ordered Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old artist of Cambodian origin who lives in France, to pay damages. She must hand over euro1,000 (US$1,465) to the painting's owner, euro500 (US$730) to the Avignon gallery that showed it and euro1 (US$1.50) to the painter.
The painting is owned by collector Yvon Lambert. He had asked for more than euro2 million (US$2.9 million) in damages, which included the value of the painting and the euro33,400 (US$47,000) restoration cost.
During the trial, Sam argued that she had committed an "act of love" — not vandalism. "I didn't think," she said last month. "When I kissed it, I thought the artist would have understood."
Sam was taken into custody after she kissed the painting at an exhibit in Avignon on July 19.
Twombly is known for abstract paintings, some of which use repetitive lines, graffiti, letters and words. Born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.