"Passionate" kiss lands art lover in French court

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MARSEILLE, France, Oct 9 (Reuters) A self-professed art lover stood trial accused of kissing a 2-million dollars painting while wearing red lipstick and damaging the canvas.

The deputy prosecutor in the southern French city of Avignon accused the defendant, Sam Rindy, of ''savagery'' for having left a lipstick smear on the work by US artist Cy Twombly, and demanded the court fine her 4,500 euros.

The picture's owner, Yvon Lambert, wants 2 million dollars in damages and a further 33,400 euros that he says is needed to pay for the restoration work.

Rindy, an artist of Cambodian origin, has said she was ''overcome with passion'' when she saw the painting hanging on a gallery wall in July 2007.

''This woman is profoundly upset. She was overcome by an emotion that she could not tame,'' her lawyers, Patrick Gontard Jean-Michel Ambrosino, told the court, describing the kiss as an ''act of love''.

Lambert's lawyer rejected this line of defence, saying: ''In love, there need to be two consenting people.'' Rindy, who is in her 30s, told reporters earlier this year that she thought her lipstick had improved the white, untitled painting.

The court will deliver its verdict on November 16.

Reuter SG DB2000

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