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Activist arrested for attacking Monet painting in Paris

By AFP

June 2, 2024 11:26 AM


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French police on Saturday arrested a climate activist who staged a protest attack on a priceless Claude Monet painting at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, prosecutors said.

The woman stuck a red sheet to the "Coquelicots" (Poppy Field) impressionist work and then glued her hands to the wall before she was detained, police said.

A restoration expert examined the painting, which is covered by glass and suffered no permanent damage, a Musee d'Orsay spokesperson told AFP. "The exhibition is entirely accessible to the public again."

The spokesperson said however that a criminal complaint would be registered over the latest in a growing number of cultural attacks.

The woman, a member of the "Riposte Alimentaire" (Food Response) environmental group, was taken into custody for wilful damage, the Paris prosecution service said.

In a video posted on X, the former Twitter, the woman is seen placing the red cloth over the Monet painting of a field of red poppies.

In the video she warns of the "nightmarish" effects of global warming.

Monet's painting, completed in 1873, shows people with umbrellas strolling in a blooming poppy field and is part of a special Musee d'Orsay show called "Paris 1874, Inventing Impressionism" that features 130 works by 31 artists.

- 'We love art' -

Some of Monet's works have sold for tens of millions of dollars, with his painting "Meules" ("Haystacks") fetching more than $110 million at auction in 2019.

Riposte Alimentaire has claimed responsibility for several art attacks in France in a bid to draw attention to the climate crisis and deteriorating food quality.

In January two protesters from the group hurled soup at the "Mona Lisa" painting in the Louvre museum. Leonardo da Vinci's masterwork is covered by bulletproof glass.

The attackers were sentenced by a Paris court to carry out volunteer work for a charity organisation.

In 2022, a man threw a custard pie at the Mona Lisa because, he said, artists were not focusing enough on "the planet".

In February, Riposte Alimentaire hurled soup at another Monet painting, "Springtime", in Lyon, southeast France.

Last month the group's activists stuck flyers around "Liberty Leading the People", a painting by Eugene Delacroix in the Louvre.

In April, two members were arrested at the Musee d'Orsay, which is dedicated to 19th-century art, suspected of preparing an action there.

Riposte Alimentaire calls itself a "French civil resistance movement which aims to spur a radical societal change for the environment and society".

"We love art," the movement has said, "but future artists will have nothing to paint on a burning planet."

Monet appears to be a favourite target for climate activists elsewhere, too, with paintings by the Impressionist having previously come under attack in Potsdam, Germany, and in Stockholm.


AFP


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