The Museum Schloss Moyland

Germany’s Museum Schloss Moyland Embroiled in Legal Dispute

The Museum Schloss Moyland, the modern and contemporary art institution and international research center dedicated to Joseph Beuys in northwest Germany, has been caught up in a legal battle over its management and artistic direction, Monopol reports.

The Landesarbeitsgericht (the State Labor Court) in Düsseldorf has announced that it is reviewing an appeal by the museum’s administration after Bettina Paust, the museum’s former artistic director, successfully sued them for wrongfully dismissing her.

Paust’s seven-year contract as artistic director expired in April 2016. Rather than renewing the contract, the museum reassigned Paust to her previous position as vice director. Since the Moyland Foundation did not hire a new artistic director, the regional labor court ruled that Paust’s employment contract was still valid and that its term-limit proviso did not apply.

In February, Franz Rudolf van der Grinten, a board spokesman for the Moyland Foundation, said that the board no longer wanted her at the helm of the institution due to a drop in attendance that he attributed to her 2011 campaign to modernize the museum by rehanging its collection and showcasing more international artists. Rudolf van der Grinten said she “did not meet expectations.” He added that the Paust tried to make a “Museum of Modern Art” out of Moyland, which is why it lost his appeal.

However, the museum reported welcoming roughly fifty thousand visitors in 2016, surpassing attendance at the Abteiberg in Mönchegladbach, which received thirty-six thousand people, despite being named museum of the year.

Best known for its holdings of about six thousand early works by Joseph Beuys from the collection of brothers Hans and Franz Joseph van der Grinten, the Schloss Moyland Museum Foundation comprises the municipality of the most populous German state, North Rhine-Westphalia; the van der Grinten family; and the Steengracht family (the descendants of Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland and the owners of museum’s castle). North Rhine-Westphalia’s $3.2 million annual subsidy accounts for about 80 percent of the museum's operating budget.