Following the incident on 23 October 2022 at the Museum Barberini, in which Claude Monet’s painting Getreideschober was pelted with mashed potatoes, the museum’s management has decided to close the museum for a short period until 30 October.
Image above: © Lukas Spörl
The background is the wish of museum founder Hasso Plattner to analyse the situation with national and international museum partners and lending institutions and to discuss the risks revealed by the recent attacks. In view of repeated attacks, the requirements for long-term and sustainable preservation of art in international museum operations are to be re-evaluated and adapted locally.
Ortrud Westheider, Director of the Museum Barberini: “The attack on a work of the Hasso Plattner Collection, as well as previous attacks on works of art, among others in the National Gallery in London, have shown that the high international security standards for the protection of works of art in the case of activist attacks are not sufficient and must be adapted. We want to take the incident at our institution as an opportunity to establish a productive dialogue with international museum partners and to jointly set the course for preserving art and cultural assets for future generations.”
In the early afternoon of 23 October 2022, Claude Monet’s painting Getreideschober in the Museum Barberini had been pelted with mashed potatoes. Fortunately, the painting was protected by glass and carefully sealed. Therefore, no liquid could penetrate and the painting remained unharmed. According to the immediate conservation examination, it did not suffer any damage.
An earlier statement from the Museum Barberini, sent on the day of the incident, said that the work could be back on display in the exhibition rooms as early as Wednesday, 26 October 2022. In the same statement, director Ortrud Westheider announced: “I am relieved that the painting has not suffered any damage and that we will soon be able to make the work accessible to the public again. While I understand the activists’ urgent concern in the face of the climate catastrophe, I am shocked by the means they are using to lend weight to their demands. It is precisely in the works of the Impressionists that we see the intense artistic engagement with nature. The many landscape paintings in the Hasso Plattner Collection can also encourage visitors to reflect on and question their relationship to the environment.”
According to the Museum Barberini, the perpetrators could be taken into custody due to the quick and prudent actions of the guards and the people of Potsdam.