Andrew Lloyd-Webber Reaches Agreement To Sell $50 million Picasso



Andrew Lloyd-Webber in front of Pablo Picasso The Absinthe Drinker
Andrew Lloyd-Webber in front of Pablo Picasso The Absinthe Drinker
Andrew Lloyd-Webber Art Foundation recently announced plans to go forward with the Sale of his Pablo Picasso 1903 Painting titled The Absinthe Drinker, the $29.1 million Pablo Picasso Painting purchased in good faith by his Charitable Foundation at a 1995 Sotheby's Auction.

Originally estimated at $40-$60 million, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber withdrew his important Blue Period Pablo Picasso Painting from a 2006 Christie's Auction, less than 24 hours before it was scheduled for sale at public auction. In 2006, Alfred Lloyd Webber was on the verge of auctioning Pablo Picasso's The Absinthe Drinker, 1903, at Christie's.

The Composer decided to withdraw the famous Picasso Painting after he "was sued by a German historian named Julius Schoeps, who said he was a grandnephew and heir to a onetime owner of the painting, Berlin banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy."

The recent settlement comes on the heals of prior favorable 2009 court rulings which concluded Schoeps does not the legal standing to bring a claim for the painting. Nevertheless, LLoyd-Webber wanted to be sure the claims would not interfere with his ability to pass clear Title without challenge.

The details of the settlement are being kept confidential, though both sides released statements saying they were pleased with the result. The noted musical composer’s foundation said it hopes to raise as much as £33 million ($52 million) through the sale of the work and plans to invest those funds in charitable work.

"A spokesman for the composer's Foundation said the trustees were “pleased” that “Professor Julius Schoeps and all other heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Elsa von Kesselstatt have settled and relinquished any and all claims of title” to the painting."

"Prof Schoeps and his family said in a statement: “The terms of the settlement are confidential in their entirety. The heirs now relinquish any and all claims of title to this painting."

“For the first time ever, a US court recognized that victims of Nazi persecution who lost artworks and perhaps other materials as a result of Nazi duress and pressure have a viable judicial remedy to reclaim their property without needing to establish that Nazi authorities seized it directly or ordered a particular sale."

“The Mendelssohn heirs are gratified to have participated in a case that expands dramatically the potential opportunities of Holocaust victims and heirs to recover property wrongfully taken from them.”

Thanks to the favorable Court ruling, handled by the legal firm of Paul Weiss, Webber's Foundation will benefit from a $50 to $75 million donation, dependent upon its eventual success at public auction.

After years of wrangling, Sir Webber's Picasso was sold by Christie's for  £34.7 million in 2010.

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