Climate activists in Germany pour mashed potatoes on US$111 million Monet work

  • Environmental activist group Last Generation said on Twitter that they took action to ‘make society remember that fossil fuel is killing us all’
  • Earlier this month, two climate change protesters from Just Stop Oil hit van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ with tomato soup
Agence France-Presse |

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Members of Last Generation pictured after throwing mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting at Barberini Museum in Germany on Sunday, as a way to protest against the extraction of fossil fuels. Photo: Last Generation via AP

Eco-activists on Sunday threw mashed potatoes on a Claude Monet painting in a German museum, soon after Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers in London was hit by tomato soup.

Publishing a video of the action on Twitter, the environmental protest group Last Generation wrote: “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!”

The work, Les Meules (Haystacks), hangs in the Museum Barberini in Potsdam and is part of billionaire Hasso Plattner’s collection. It is on permanent loan to the museum.

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The painting fetched US$111 million at an auction in 2019 – the highest sum paid for a Monet.

Dressed in black with orange vests, the two activists poured the mashed potatoes on the painting before squatting in front of it and sticking a hand each on the wall.

“Does it take mashed potatoes on a painting to get you to listen? This painting is not going to be worth anything if we have to fight over food,” said one of the two activists.

Both were taken into custody and are under investigation for damage to property and trespassing, police said.

A member of the climate protection protest group Last Generation stands with a sign reading “Let’s Gooooo Speed Limit!” in front of the Federal Ministry of Transport in Germany, where the group had placed more than 500 speed limit 100 signs. Activists want the government to implement a speed limit on German highways, saying it would significantly reduce CO2 pollution. Photo: DPA

The painting was protected by glass, the museum said, adding that experts have assessed that it has not suffered any damage.

The work will be back on show from Wednesday, the museum said.

In a similar stunt on October 14, two environmental protesters from Just Stop Oil hit van Gogh’s world-renowned Sunflowers with tomato soup at the National Gallery in London.

The gallery said the protesters caused “minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed”.

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