German art gallery fires employee for hanging his own painting in exhibition

Gallery worker fired from Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne and banned from building

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 10 April 2024 10:22 BST
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(File image) A member of Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne technical team has been fired and banned from the gallery after hanging up his own work
(File image) A member of Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne technical team has been fired and banned from the gallery after hanging up his own work (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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An employee at a modern art gallery in Germany has been fired after hanging up his own work at an exhibition in the hope of getting his break in the art world.

The 51-year-old, who has not been named, hung his work at Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne, where he was employed as part of the technical team.

His piece measured 23in by 47in (60 by 120 centimetres) and was put on display in an empty passageway for a short amount of time, a spokesperson for the gallery said.

Tine Nehler, head of communications at the gallery, told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that supervisors notice stunts like this “immediately”.

After staff discovered what happened the man was fired and banned from attending the gallery, one of the largest in Europe, featuring work by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí and other famous artists.

It is not the first time an additional painting has been found at a gallery in Germany.

File photo: Gallery features work by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí and other famous artists
File photo: Gallery features work by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí and other famous artists (Getty Images)

A few months ago staff at the Bundeskunsthalle were packing up an exhibition when they discovered that an extra painting had been put on display.

The art was put on display by a member of the public who later got in touch with the gallery after it put out a request for the woman to come forward, having found the stunt “funny”.

"We think it’s funny and we want to get to know the artist. So get in touch! There’s no trouble. Word of honour," the gallery posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Danai Emmanouilidis told German media that she had always wanted one of her works to feature in a prominent gallery.

“I smuggled it in with a giant hoodie over my leggings," she told broadcaster WDR.

Ms  Emmanouilidis’s portrait, entitled Georgia, was later auctioned by the gallery. The painting fetched €3,696 with the proceeds going to an art charity called ArtAsyl in Cologne.

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