German portraits moved after 'criticism'

Oct. 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM

BERLIN, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A spokesman for German President Joachim Gauck said a series of portraits depicting his predecessors have been moved after complaints.

The spokesman said the portraits of Germany's previous 10 presidents, commissioned by former President Christian Wulff before he resigned earlier this year, were initially placed in a gallery near the main entrance of the presidential palace in Berlin when they were unveiled in September, have now been moved to an anteroom, The reported Tuesday.

"The pictures caused a lot of discussion," the presidential spokesman said. "And criticism did keep coming up."

The spokesman said critics of the paintings included Christina Rau, widow of former President Johannes Rau, who said she was unhappy with the depiction of her late husband, and art collector Peter Raue, who described them as "oppressive and hideous."

Volker Henze, 62, the artist behind the portraits, said he was outraged to learn they had been moved.

"The pictures were painted for the palace gallery, not a corridor," Henze said. "I'm not going to take this."

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