German artists opposition to proposed cultural protection legislation escalates

Georg Baselitz via The Art Newspaper

The opposition to the recent tightening of Germany’s cultural protection legislation is growing among German artists and collectors, who are taking action to contest the proposed legal changes, The Art Newspaper reports. The legislation, proposed by German culture minister Monika Grütters would require that all artworks older than 50 years and valued over €150,000 have an export permit to be sold abroad, even within the European Union. Although Grütters hoped it would preserve ‘national treasures’, the law is having the opposite effect. Georg Baselitz announced this week the withdrawal of his works currently on loan to several major museums in Germany. Gerhardt Richter described the proposal as an interference with freedom and Max Beckmann’s granddaughter said that she would withdraw all loans by the artist to the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts.

In light of the protests the proposal has caused, Grütters stated that the legislation was still in draft form and that possible amendments could include an increase in the minimum value of artworks to €300,000 and only older than 70 years, which would effectively exclude most contemporary art. 

16 July 2015.