Knife attack badly damages work by top French modern artist

French artist Daniel Buren

An attacker wielding a utility knife has badly damaged a work by the celebrated French conceptual artist Daniel Buren at the Pompidou Centre in central Paris, the museum said on Friday.

The work, "Peinture [Manifestation 3]", suffered "serious deliberate damage" in Thursday afternoon's attack by the man, the museum said in a statement.

It said that a museum attendant alerted security, and video cameras allowed the rapid finding of the suspect. "He made no claim (over the attack) and was handed over to the police," it said.

An investigation has been opened by the judicial authorities after the museum filed a complaint to police.

The artist, 81, has been informed of the incident and the work itself transferred to the stores of the Pompidou Centre to estimate the damage and restoration needed.

It will be replaced on public display by another work from the artist.

The Pompidou Centre said it understood the suspect was no longer in detention and had been transferred to a psychiatric unit.

"Peinture [Manifestation 3]" was created by Buren in 1967 and shows red and white stripes. It was purchased for the museum's collection in 1986.

Buren is perhaps best known for the succession of black-and-white columns he inlaid into the inner courtyard of the Palais Royal complex in central Paris in a hugely controversial installation that opened in 1986.

The damage to the work comes just over a week after a stencilled work by the elusive British street artist Banksy was stolen from outside the Pompidou Centre.

The Pompidou, which houses Europe's biggest collection of contemporary art but does not own the Banksy work, filed a police complaint for destruction of property.