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Wlodzimierz Umaniec charged with defacing Rothko painting

Wlodzimierz Umaniec, also known as Vladimir Umanets, was charged with defacing a Rothko painting at the Tate Modern.

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A Mark Rothko painting was defaced with black marker at London's Tate Modern gallery Sunday. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

A Polish man, Wlodzimierz Umaniec, was charged on Tuesday with defacing a painting by Mark Rothko in London's Tate Modern museum.

Umaniec, 26, who also goes by the name Vladimir Umanets, is accused of damaging Rothko's 1958 piece "Black on Maroon" on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Scotland Yard said that Umaniec would appear in south London Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, charged with one count of "criminal damage in excess of £5,000 ($8,000)," according to the Associated Press.

The words "Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism" were marked on the painting, said Reuters.

More on GlobalPost: Mark Rothko painting defaced at Tate gallery in London

Rothko's children, Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, said that they were "greatly troubled" by the incident in a statement, according to the AP.

The painting was part of Rothko's Seagram mural series, commissioned for the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram building in New York, CNN noted. Rothko famously completed the paintings before rejecting the commission, saying that the restaurant was not an appropriate place for his art.

The BBC noted that the piece that was defaced does not have a price, but paintings by the Russian-born Rothko usually bring tens of millions of dollars.

In May, Rothko's "Orange, Red, Yellow" sold for $86.9 million at Christie's in New York. A spokeswoman for the Tate said a conservation team was assessing the damage to the piece.

More on GlobalPost: Mark Rothko painting vandal says its more valuable now

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/121009/wlodzimierz-umaniec-charged-defacing-rothko-paint