BERLIN (AFP) – A cleaning woman at a German museum who mistook a sculpture for an unsightly mess has destroyed the valuable artwork beyond recognition, a spokeswoman for the western city of Dortmund said Thursday.
The cleaner at the city’s Ostwall Museum went to work on the Martin Kippenberger installation titled When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling, which was valued by insurers at 800,000 euros ($1.1 million), she said.
The late contemporary master had created a tower of wooden slats under which a rubber trough was placed with a thin beige layer of paint representing dried rain water.
Taking it for an actual stain, the cleaner scrubbed the surface until it gleamed.
“It is now impossible to return it to its original state,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the damage had been discovered late last month and that the work had been on loan to the museum from a private collector.