Thursday, November 09, 2006

Art In The News: Picasso Ownership Dispute

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Julius Schoeps, a descendant of a former owner of a Picasso painting, recently sued to recover the canvas. The painting, ' Portrait of Angel Fernandes de Sota' was scheduled to be auctioned Wednesday. The lawsuit prompted Christie's officials to withdraw it from sale.

The painting, valued at more that 60 million dollars, was publicly withdrawn from the auction by Christie's and the Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation (Current owner of the painting) during a joint decision. However, a court decision may grant the auction of the painting if Schoeps suit is denied.

Julius Schoeps filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court. Mr. Schoeps claimed that his ancestor, a wealthy banker, was intimidated by members of the Nazi party and forced to sell the prized painting in the 1930s. Schoep demands ownership of the painting or compensation of $60 million from the Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation had hoped to auction the painting (Which has been on the art market for 50 years.) in order to finance actors' scholarships and other theatrical endeavors. It seems that they may not be able to sell the painting anytime soon. There will certainly be further legal hassles over the ownership of this painting.

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