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US Museum Asks Far-Right German Party to Stop Using Its Painting for an Election Ad
The campaign, funded by the Alternative for Germany party, features the 1866 painting “Slave Market” with the caption, “So that Europe won’t become Eurabia.”

Jean-Léon Gérôme, “Slave Market” (1866) (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, has called on a German right-wing party to withhold from using a Jean-Léon Gérôme painting from the museum’s collection in its campaign for the European elections in May.

The 1866 oil painting “Slave Market” depicts a nude fair-skinned enslaved woman being probed by Middle Eastern or North African men. One of the men, dressed in an Abaya (traditional cloak), is seen inspecting her teeth. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party proliferated posters of the painting across the German capital with the slogan: “So that Europe won’t become Eurabia.”

“We strongly condemn the use of the painting to advance AfD’s political stance and have written to them insisting that they cease and desist,” said Olivier Meslay, the director of the Clark Art Institute, in a statement. “We are strongly opposed to the use of this work to advance any political agenda.”

However, Meslay acknowledged that there’s little the museum can do since the painting is in the public domain. “There are no copyrights or permissions that allow us to exert control over how it is used other than to appeal to civility on the part of the AfD Berlin,” he said.

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@AfDBerlin
Schön blauer #AfD Himmel, europäische Kunst.
Vielen Dank für  die Zusendung des aufmerksamen Passanten.

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