Musée d’Orsay in Paris says painting was target of another attempted soup attack
- Le Parisien newspaper reported the attacker was wearing a Just Stop Oil T-shirt, as other activists have worn during similar stunts in recent weeks
- Elsewhere on Sunday, climate activists struck the cultural sector in Berlin again, targeting a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum
A young woman tried to throw soup at a painting at the world-famous Musée d’Orsay in Paris this week, the museum confirmed on Sunday, in a similar attack to others by climate activists in Europe.
The museum refused to say which painting was targeted but it is home to artwork by some of the most famous European artists including Paul Cézanne, Paul Gaugin, Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet.
The museum said it had filed a legal complaint for the “attempt to damage a piece of work” after the female activist was intercepted on Thursday, confirming a report in Le Parisien newspaper.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said police had opened an investigation after the complaint.
According to Le Parisien, the woman had initially tried to approach the 1889 Van Gogh self-portrait at Saint-Remy before attempting to throw soup at a painting by Gaugin.
The newspaper reported she was wearing a “Just Stop Oil” T-shirt, as others have worn during similar stunts in recent weeks.
Elsewhere, activists on Sunday struck the cultural sector in Berlin again, targeting a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum and throwing liquid at a glassed-in painting at the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) in separate incidents.
Berlin police freed and then charged two activists for disturbance of the peace and damage to property after they glued themselves to the supports holding a dinosaur skeleton in the city’s Natural History Museum.
A museum spokesperson said the museum’s operations remained unaffected after the afternoon incident involving two women aged 34 and 42.
Images taken of the incident showed the two in high-visibility orange vests and a banner reading: “What if the government does not have it under control?”
The Last Generation protest group issued a statement: “Climate change that we cannot stand up to is threatening us as it did the dinosaurs of the past. If we do not want to be threatened by extinction, we have to act now.”
In the second incident, a person threw a liquid at The Clown by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a spokeswoman for the museum operator the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation said late on Sunday.
The lone assailant then glued themself to the wall next to the painting, a museum spokesperson said. “They had distributed leaflets in the hall earlier.”
The painting is mounted in a protective glass case.
“I am shocked by this further senseless attack on art,” the foundation’s president, Hermann Parzinger, said on Sunday evening.
He said the attack could not currently be attributed to any climate advocacy group.
Parzinger said that the painting was not badly damaged, but there was considerable damage in the exhibition room in the Alte Nationalgalerie on the Museum Island in central Berlin.
“I would like to thank the guards on site for reacting so professionally and for quickly getting the situation under control. We will continue to do everything we can to protect the art in our collections while keeping it accessible with as few barriers as possible. That is our task,” he added.
The painting was displayed in the Impressionist Hall. It is now to be examined in the in-house restoration workshop, according to the foundation.
The police initially gave no information on the possible background to the incident. The gallery, which is closed on Mondays anyway, is currently expected to reopen on Tuesday as usual.
Climate activists in several European countries have in recent weeks staged protests in museums and blocked traffic, often gluing themselves in place.
Agence France-Presse and dpa