Gerhard Richter Joins Baselitz And Threatens to Pull Loaned Artworks from German Museums
Will he follow Baselitz's example?
Germany’s most important contemporary artist, Gerhard Richter, is the latest art star to criticize the German government’s planned tightening of their cultural protection legislation.
Last Sunday, Georg Baselitz took radical action and withdrew all of his works on long-term or permanent loan from German museums to protest government plans, which would restrict artworks classified as “nationally significant cultural heritage” from being exported.
In an interview with the daily Dresdner Morgenpost, Richter threatened to take his pictures “out of the museums, quickly put them on the market and sell them off,” if the proposed amendment is passed.
He called the government’s plans “an infringement of freedom,” and declared that “nobody has the right to tell me what to do with my pictures.”
Richter explained that he would refuse to show his paintings to a government commission to ask for permission to sell them because “these people usually know nothing about art.”
However, unlike his compatriot Baselitz, Richter warned against acting prematurely. “It’s too early. So far there’s only a draft of the amendment,” he said. He explained that taking his paintings out of museums now, only to return them in case the amendment isn’t passed, “would take too much effort.”
The position was confirmed by Dieter Elger, director of the Gerhard Richter archive at the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden. “For now, Mr. Richter will wait, but he is happy that the issue is being discussed,” Art Magazin reports.
Following Baselitz, Richter is now the second German art star to take a hard-line stance against the government’s proposals.
Only last week, German culture secretary Monika Grütters insisted that the amendments would not discourage private individuals from loaning important works to German museums. Now she has been proven wrong a second time.
If indeed Richter decides to follow Baselitz’s suit and pull his long-term and permanent loans from German museums, it could signal a major blow to the government’s plans.
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