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Germany Approves Controversial Cultural Property Bill

After toning down a controversial cultural property bill to increase export license requirements for works valued at over $340,000 and over seventy years old, Germany’s federal cabinet finally passed the amendment to the country’s cultural protection legislation on Wednesday, according to a report by Henri Neuendorf at Artnet. The cabinet’s approval is the first step towards ratification of the law, which will now go to the German parliament. Culture Minister Monika Grütters has been leading the charge on this issue, defending the legislation as an attempt to protect valuable cultural artifacts significant to the country’s heritage and history from being exported out of the country.

But some in the art world are not happy: Georg Baselitz removed all of his work loaned to German museums, and Gerhard Richter has threatened to withdraw his works from institutions as well. Meanwhile gallerist Michael Werner has noted his own beliefs about the new bill: “It can only be about control…they want to know, despite contrary statements, what private citizens have hanging in their living rooms. They want to make money, as they did in 2014 with the ‘normalization’ of the VAT rate on works of art.”