A pair of German climate activists tossed mashed potatoes at an 1890 Monet painting worth a whopping 110 million dollars on Sunday.
The activists are linked to a German group called Letzte Generation, meaning “last generation,” and, after hurling yellow-tinged mash at the painting, they glued themselves to the wall at Potsdam’s Barberini Museum.
Museum authorities noted that Claude Monet’s 130-year-old masterpiece sold for over 110 million dollars in 2019 but was not damaged after the Sunday incident.
We are in a climate catastrophe, German activists yelled
The recent protest was the latest in a series of art-related actions meant to draw attention to immensely increasing destructions related to climate change and the environment.
According to press reports in Germany, Mirjam Herrmann one of the protesters said, “People are starving, people are freezing, people are dying. We are in a climate catastrophe.”
With her hand glued to the wall, Hermann told onlookers, “Science says we won’t be able to feed our families by 2050,” adding that “this painting will be worth nothing if we have to fight over food.”
Letzte Generation posted on Twitter noting, “If it takes a painting—with #MashedPotatoes or #TomatoSoup thrown at it—to make society remember that the fossil fuel course is killing us all: Then we’ll give you #MashedPotatoes on a painting!”
We make this #Monet the stage and the public the audience.
— Letzte Generation (@AufstandLastGen) October 23, 2022
Attack on Monet painting similar to Just Stop Oil London protest
The recent Sunday incident at the Potsdam’s Barberini Museum comes after a similar event carried out by a pair of environmentalists from the Just Stop Oil group. The group is popularly known for climate protests. Group members vandalized Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting in The National Gallery of London on Friday, October 14th.
Two cans of tomato soup were hurled at van Gogh’s Sunflowers, a masterpiece valued at 85 million dollars. Protesters glued themselves to the gallery wall on which the painting hung as they attempted to speak out against oil. Their method is to vandalize famous artworks for climate attention.
Just Stop Oil activists are famous for targeting artworks as they seek attention for their protests. In June, a pair of activists from the association glued themselves to the frame of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. John Constable’s The Hay Wain in the National Gallery was likewise vandalized for the same purpose, namely to garner attention for climate support.
Destroying famous paintings in climate protests not justifiable
German climate activists were condemned by left-leaning government officials in Potsdam and Brandenburg state officials among others for tossing mashed potatoes at Monet’s painting.
Ortrud Westheider, the museum director said, “While I understand the activists’ urgent concern in the face of the climate catastrophe, I am shocked by the means with which they are trying to lend weight to their demands.”
While posting on Twitter, Brandenburg Green Party Leader Ursula Nonnemacher said, “The fight against the climate crisis is not strengthened by attacks on famous paintings.”
“On the contrary, we need broad social consensus,” Nonnemacher added.
An official from Barberini Museum said the protesters’ hands were “detached from the wall relatively easily,” assuring that Monet’s masterpiece was unharmed as was the case for van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the London protest.