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Row over paint job for town fountain

Far-right mayor of Moselle town insists he was brightening up 'ugly' fountain as artist accuses him of using FN colours

A POLITICAL and legal row is brewing over a Moselle town mayor’s decision to paint a public fountain blue.

Fabien Engelmann, the Front National mayor of Hayange, insisted he wanted to brighten up the 'ugly' work after its artist accused him of using FN colours and threatened legal action.

He has now offered to sell the stone and metal fountain back to artist Alain Mila, who created it back in 2001 and sold it to the town’s former socialist administration for €9,000.

Mr Mila, who has since moved away from the area told AFP that he received an anonymous phone call informing him that his artwork had been painted in two shades of blue.

He said that he believed the colours used were “very close” to the ones in the Front National logo.

“They should at least remove the paint,” he said. “It is an attack on my work and my values.”

Mr Engelmann’s actions have also prompted condemnation from France’s culture minister Aurélie Filippetti. She said she was surprised that anyone would repaint a work of art “without the artist’s permission.”

She added in a statement that the decision demonstrated “how elected Front National representatives approach cultural matters”.

But Mr Engelmann said he could not understand the furore and insisted that the fountain "could hardly be called art".

“We painted the bottom swimming pool blue and the rest turquoise,” he said.

Photo: Alain Mila / Facebook

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