Gerhard Richter threatens to withdraw works loaned to German Museums


Gerhard Richter, Detail Abstraktes Bild 1986 Image courtesy of Sothebys.

German artist Gerhard Richter has threatened to withdraw the works he loaned to German museums “to place them on the market quickly and sell them” if a German cultural heritage protection bill is passed.

Following Georg Baselitz, Richter is the second German artist to oppose the government bill. Unlike his compatriot, Richter has not removed the works from German museums where they are exposed, arguing that it was too early. If ratified, this law will give the State the opportunity to restrict the export of certain German art. Any owner of a German art object older than 50 or whose value exceeds € 150,000 must declare it to the Ministry of Culture to obtain an export license. It is the latter that will allow the artist or owner to sell the item overseas. If the work is classified by the relevant committee as a “significant national cultural heritage”, it cannot be sold. The Minister of Culture Monika Grütters, defends the project as it would identify and preserve the German heritage.

Georg Baselitz withdrew works that had been loaned to German museums: the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz and Dresden Albertinum museum had surrendered many works of the artist.