Beuys Loss Shuts Museum

SCHAFFHAUSEN -- The Joseph Beuys room-size installation, 'Das Kapital Raum' (1970-1977), has been sold for an undisclosed price, after being taken from the museum here. The museum has now been forced to close.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network lament the forcible shuttering of the museum caused by the loss of the artwork.

The body of work was featured at the 1980 Venice Biennale, and was personally rebuilt in 1984 by the artist at the newly opened Hallen für Neue Kunst, the Swiss museum located here.

The museum has now been forced to close when it lost a costly appeal to the Schaffhausen Supreme Court, who ordered it to hand over the Beuys installation to its rightful owners. The new owners have subsequently sold the important work of art.

The installation was the center of a legal dispute between the Halle für Neue Kunst and three investors between 2004 and 2014.

Following an argument over the future of the museum, the trio, which owned the artwork, decided to claim it back.

The court eventually ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, arguing that the artwork did indeed belong to the investors' company, Crexart AG. The piece was subsequently sold privately.

According to the foundation managing the museum, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, which was founded with a mere CHF80,000 or £54,942 endowment, the facility was unable to pay the CHF 180,000 in legal fees and the CHF221,000 in compensation accrued during the drawn-out lawsuit to keep hold of its most important piece of art.

After failing to attract potential investors to the museum, the foundation was left on the verge of bankruptcy.

The removal and subsequent sale of the installation has been widely criticized, which means that the small town of Schaffhausen has lost one of its most significant cultural attractions.

A spokesperson for the Schaffhausen said, “We view this development with regret."

On Friday, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation announced that the collector Erich Marx had bought the work and was permanently loaning the installation to Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie.

However, in light of these events Joseph Beuys' widow, Eva, has long made it clear that she does not condone the sale of her husband's installation, and would consider any attempt to remove the artwork from its intended location in Schaffhausen amounting to its destruction.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video discusses the closure of the museum after the seizure of the Beuys' piece.