Uriel Landeros, 22, allegedly confessed to the act. Prosecutors say Landeros smuggled spray paint into a Houston art gallery and used a stencil to paint a picture of a bull and the Spanish word "conquista" or "conquered" onto a Picasso valued in the millions, The Houston Chronicle said.
The 1929 painting "Woman in a Red Armchair" has since been restored.
A cellphone video of Landeros committing the act was posted to Youtube and went viral. The description of the video names Landeros as the culprit.
Landeros has since apologized, saying he hoped people didn't misunderstand his message. He said he "did this to turn heads ... to raise awareness." The report did not say to what Landeros was trying to draw attention.
Landeros is expected to be back in Texas Friday after fleeing to Mexico.