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German gallery fires employee for hanging up his own painting

Technician at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich had reportedly yearned to achieve an “artistic breakthrough”

A staff member of a German art museum got sacked after having hung one of his own paintings at the museum, newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung reported this week.

The 51-year-old man worked as a technician at Munich’s Pinakothek museum of modern art and design, and had access to the gallery space during closing hours, according to the daily, citing police sources.

The gallery displays works by renowned artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali, and Henri Matisse.

“The employee considers himself as an artist and most likely saw his role in the museum’s installation team as a day-job to support his true calling,” a spokesperson for the Pinakothek told The Guardian.

The aspiring artist had reportedly drilled two holes in a wall in the facility to install his 23-inch by 47-inch (60cm x 120cm) artwork on an unused white wall in a passageway in its eastern wing’s first-floor gallery, dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

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The man was hoping that smuggling his creation into the museum would help him to precipitate an “artistic breakthrough,” police told Suddeutsche Zeitung.

The clandestine hanging reportedly occurred on February 23 but wasn’t made public until Monday. According to the gallery spokesperson, the painting had been installed in the early hours and spotted by staff soon after the museum opened the same day.

“The decision was made to keep the picture on display while the gallery was open and take it down after its closing time at 6pm,” the spokesperson said.

As a result, the employee’s painting had a chance to share a space with works by pop-art pioneer Andy Warhol for an entire day.

Pinakothek has said it had terminated the employee’s contract and banned him from entering its premises.


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