German environmentalists throw mashed potatoes at a Monet painting worth $110 million.
Sunday, two climate activists in Potsdam, Germany, threw mashed potatoes at a Monet painting worth tens of millions of dollars in a museum.
The two activists from Letzte Generation, which means “last generation” in German, covered Oscar-Claude Monet’s 130-year-old painting “Les Meules” with yellow mash and then stuck themselves to the wall at the Museum Barberini, as shown in a video that was shared on social media.
“People are dying because they are hungry, cold, or both. According to Der Tagesspeigel, protester Mirjam Herrmann yelled, “We are in a climate catastrophe!” as she stuck her hand to the wall to make a sign.
“Science says that by the year 2050, we won’t be able to feed our families,” Hermann told the crowd. “If we have to fight over food, this painting won’t be worth anything.”
The protest on Sunday was similar to one in London, where two people from a group called “Just Stop Oil” threw a can of Heinz tomato soup on a painting by Vincent Van Gogh worth $85 million.
Just Stop Oil activists also stuck themselves to an early copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” at London’s Royal Academy of Arts and to John Constable’s “The Hay Wain” at the National Gallery.
“If it takes a painting with mashed potatoes or tomato soup on it to remind people that burning fossil fuels is killing us all, then we’ll give you a painting with mashed potatoes on it!” Last Generation sent out tweets on Sunday.
Officials at the museum say that the food call-out did not hurt either painting.
Hasso Plattner, a supporter of the Museum Barberini, bought Monet’s “Meules” for $111 million in 2019, according to Der Tagesspiegel.
A museum worker told the outlet that the protesters’ hands were “pretty easy to get off the wall.”
In a statement, the director of the museum, Ortrud Westheider, said, “I understand the activists’ urgent concern about the climate catastrophe, but I am shocked by the way they are trying to make their demands heard.”
Potsdam and the German state of Brandenburg both have governments that lean to the left.
Ursula Nonnemacher, leader of the Green Party in Brandenburg, wrote on Twitter, “Attacks on famous paintings don’t help the fight against the climate crisis.” “On the contrary, we need a lot of people to agree on something.”