New York Times Article on torn Picasso
After graduating from college, I spent some time down in New Orleans working at the New Orleans Art Conservation Guild. In my first day there at the guild, I asked a question that had a major impact on me: What's the official difference between restoration and conservation?
The director quickly glanced stunningly and said, "Great question." She continued to explain that the difference had to do with whether you were altering the integrity of the piece or not.
Restoration means changing the integrity of the work and making the product look new while physically changing the piece forever.
Conservation means making the piece look new without altering the original integrity of the piece and only making it look new if the alterations can be undone at some point in time. For example, if a piece of work had missing paint, then a conservationist would only use paint that would make it look new, but could be taken off if advances in conservation discovered better ways to conserve it later.
I feel bad for the woman who lost her balance. I have to assume this was done totally by accident and that she feels absolutely horrible about it.
However, the Met has pretty good insurance. In fact, based on circumstances, some artwork increases in value based on famous accidents. Only time will tell on this note.