91-year-old woman fills in crossword puzzle, actually $89K piece of art

File photo of a crossword puzzle
File photo of a crossword puzzle

A woman in Germany was recently questioned by police at an art museum after officers said she filled in a crossword puzzle that was actually an $89,000 piece of artwork.

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The woman was visiting a Nuremberg-area art museum when she filled in the blanks in a crossword puzzle that was actually one of the museum's exhibits, The Telegraph reports. The 1977 work by Arthur Köpcke, is titled "Reading-work-piece" and had a sign next to it that read, "Insert words."

Police said the woman explained that she was just following the instructions and that if the museum didn't want people to do that, they shouldn't have put up the sign. "The lady told us she had taken the notes as an invitation to complete the crossword," a police spokesman told The Telegraph.

"The artist had already filled in some of the boxes," museum spokesperson Eva Martin told the Deutsche Welle. "We can't put corresponding labels on every piece of artwork."

The woman was with a group touring the museum and the tour's leader, Gerlinde Knopp, told BBC that there was a lot of interactive art, which could've caused the confusion.

Eva Kraus, the museum director, told The Telegraph that the damage done was not permanent and they would have it fixed.

"We do realize that the old lady didn't mean any harm," she said. "Nevertheless, as a state museum couldn't avoid making a criminal complaint. Also for insurance reasons we had to report the incident to the police."

Kraus added that the private collector who presented the piece to the museum "took the damage to the work in good humor" and she would not face any penalties.