‘Off-Balance’ Child Damages Museum Painting

Officials downplay incident, damage

By Bruce Felps
|  Friday, Sep 30, 2011  |  Updated 9:08 AM CDT
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‘Off-Balance’ Child Damages Museum Painting

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

The museum, pictured, opted to not release a photo of the damaged painting.

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Commentary
by Bruce Felps

Wednesday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram brought what had to be disturbing news to the art world.

A kid, attending opening day of the "Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary" exhibit, lost his balance — how? — reached out in an attempt, I guess, to right himself, didn’t, fell, and scraped a finger across a Hogue portrait of J. Frank Dobie.

The scrape caused a “slight abrasion … about an inch long near the frame,” according to Charlie Walter, executive vice president of programs for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, who was quoted in the article.

Museum officials, trying to make the kid feel better, fell all over themselves to call the incident an accident. OK, that was just schtick to play off the kid falling … mostly.

They’ll call in experts — and I love this quote: "We've set in motion a conservator from Dallas, who will put her eyes on it." — repair the damage, pay for it, apologize profusely to the painting’s owners, go to bed without their supper, and make everything right again ... except that Houge died in 1994, can't touch up his work, which won't be totally original anymore.

The story didn’t make clear if it was a little kid or big kid, with a parent or on a school field trip, but if he was a little kid with a parent may I respectfully suggest a way to prevent similar future events?

Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He might not know art, but he knows he doesn’t like kids.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, NBC 5, NBCDFW.com or its employees.

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