A woman who attacked a Paul Gauguin painting in Washington DC’s National Gallery claimed she did it because it is “very homosexual”.

Susan Burns, 53, of Virginia, pounded Two Tahitian Women with her fists and tried to pull it from the gallery wall, court records say.

The 1899 work, which shows two bare-breasted women, was covered by plexiglass and was not harmed by the assault.

When Ms Burns was arrested, she reportedly told police: “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual.”

According to the Smoking Gun website, she added: “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.”

She has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted theft and destruction of property and is being held pending a mental evaluation.

A witness to Ms Burns’ rage told the Washington Post: “She was really pounding it with her fists. It was like this weird surreal scene that one doesn’t expect at the National Gallery.”