Irishman Given Five Years After Punching Hole In Monet Masterpiece

Claude Monet Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat 1874.ashxAndrew Shannon, 49, now has something that he can say puts him in a small group shared only with Steve Wynn. Both have punched holes in valuable paintings. Unlike Wynn, however, Shannon wanted to punch a hole in a Claude Monet masterpiece hanging in the National Gallery Ireland in 2012 and did so in front of witnesses. Fortunately, he also did so in front of a security camera given his later defense. Monet’s 1874 work Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sail Boat has since been repaired though some small pieces were lost due to the damage on the painting.


The painting worth nearly $10 million was severely damaged.

In the case of Steve Wynn, the casino and hotel magnate suffers from the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his peripheral vision. He was showcasing his “Le Rêve,” Picasso’s 1932 portrait of his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, on the day of a sale for $40 million to hedge-fund mogul Steven Cohen. Wynn was gesturing toward the painting when he put his elbow through it. Cohen promptly declared “no sale.”

23E441A600000578-2865984-image-a-19_1418077671598Police say that Shannon told them after his arrest that he destroyed the art to “get back at the state.” However, he later changed his story to say that he “felt faint” and fell into the painting. Yet, the videotape shows him making a fist and then slamming it into the painting. He then started shouting at people in the gallery.

A can of paint stripper was later found in his possession.

The jury took just 90 minutes to convict Shannon who was sentenced to five years in prison, and will not be allowed in any gallery for 15 months after his release. We are often criticized for having too lengthy prison sentences but this seems a bit light since the police also found nearly 50 stolen items, including valuable artworks, books and antiques in his home. That would seem to warrant more time than five years. What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Irishman Given Five Years After Punching Hole In Monet Masterpiece”

  1. Five years is too lenient for a national treasure.

    Surprisingly, he is barred from entering a gallery for fifteen months. I would expect lifetime.

  2. Put him in prison in France. Make him eat French food, frogs and all. Put a hole in him. This guy is why God made rifles.

  3. I have heard of “Irish tempers”, but this guy is over the top. An outrageous thing to do! I am curious as to why the police did not pursue additional charges in regards to the 50 stolen items. He either stole the items himself or is the recipient of stolen property. Either one of these charges would warrant additional prison time.

  4. I hope Shannon’s prison cell has a single small window which looks out over a body of water, with trees to the right of the water. Then the county authorities could ensure a small white sailboat is permanently anchored on the left side of the water.

  5. The question is whether 5 years in an Irish prison is appropriate for the crime of damaging a national treasure. I do not know the parole system in Ireland, which would dictate the actual prison time, which could be much less than 5 years. Although 5 years in the slammer may be ok for a start, he should have been banned from art museums for a lot longer than 15 months. In reality he may need professional physiological help, which he will not get in prison.

  6. It would seem to me the punishment should equal what the lose of value of the painting would be. If he robbed a bank for that same amount, what would the punishment be?

    1. Jim22 – the painting can be repaired. It will look almost good as new. In 20 years with some dirt on it, no one will know or remember. The clearly should charge him the cost of repair, which is expensive.

  7. Despite the fish attack (typos haunt me daily too, but sometimes they offer comedic diversion…), being an art major, I don’t feel the punishment fits the crime. I’m not fan of impressionism either, but this is terrible. I think an example should be made of this character for his assault on civilization.

  8. Nooooooooooo! What a tragic loss. The painting will never be the same.

    5 years for severely damaging an international treasure, and having stolen loot at his house? And only 15 years barred from galleries? I’m sure gallery owners and boards everywhere want him barred for life.

    It sounds like either the judge or the legislators were not art lovers.

  9. I do not understand the need to destroy art. Even if I detest a piece, I cannot destroy it. Some idiot might like it.

  10. I do not understand the fish reference. However, I can understand accidentally puncturing a painting. While taking students on a museum visit I was pointed out something on a painting and accidentally got closer to the piece than I thought I was. Suddenly I found myself tapping on the piece itself. Luckily for me the piece was covered with glass. The docent had a heart attack and had to be replaced but we did get through the tour. My students, thought it was just typical of me to be so animated. 🙂

  11. ” Yet, the videotape shows him making fish and then slamming it into the painting. ” — Jonathon Hurley

    Did he make loaves too?

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