Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Rösel sacked as Czech National Gallery head

18 April 2013

Prague, April 17 (CTK) - Czech Culture Minister Alena Hanakova Wednesday dismissed Vladimir Roesel as National Gallery director, saying Roesel did not show understanding for the gallery's specific mission and provided no guarantee of its development, Hanakova's spokeswoman told CTK.

The gallery will be temporarily headed by professor Vit Vlnas, head of the Collection of Old Masters.

Roesel dismissed the ministry's criticism. He said his departure would help neither the gallery, nor the ministry.

"I absolutely disagree with the reasons of my dismissal. I respect the decision and it seems most important to me now to maintain continuity and stability in the National Gallery," Roesel told CTK.

The departure of the economist Roesel was speculated about for some time, however, experts appreciated the gallery's work in the past few months as the gallery organised several successful exhibitions.

Hanakova said Roesel's qualification to head the country's most significant fine art museum was very limited.

Roesel was named the gallery's director in summer 2011 by Hanakova's predecessor Jiri Besser. He replaced artist Milan Knizak who had been the gallery's head for 12 years.

On his appointment, Roesel said he would try to achieve a balanced budget and attract more visitors in the next years. He said the gallery could not afford to host big international exhibitions in near future.

Roesel was chosen as an expert in economic affairs. In the 1990s and 2000s, he was an investment manager. He was director of Fieldstone Private Capital Group seated in New York and focusing on Central Europe, director general and later supervisory board member of V&S Dynybyl, and manager in the Babcock & Brown investment company based in Vienna, among others.

The ministry said Roesel had two main tasks: to consolidate the gallery's management, and to prepare conditions for its further development and formulate a concept for its work in the next years.

The ministry said Roesel was unable to guarantee an expert attitude and he failed to communicate well with the staff, the ministry and the general public.

In the past year, the ministry repeatedly rejected Roesel's plan for the gallery's development.

Roesel said the ministry's museum and gallery section reacted positively to the submitted plan and had no reservations about it.

He said the ministry officially challenged neither the expert management of the gallery nor the expert qualities of its personnel, consulting bodies and academic council.

A group of experts in fine art are to take part in the selection of a new director, the ministry said.

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