$60M Picasso Withdrawn from Auction
There have been some successful Picasso auctions in the past year or so, but an upcoming Christie's auction is not to be such an event. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Art Foundation has had to withdraw a Picasso valued at up to $60 million due to some 11th hour ownership claims made by a man named Julius Schoeps, who claims that the painting was lost by his family in a "forced sale" by Nazis. The Foundation says that the painting, to the best of their knowledge, was sold by the widow of the relative in question after his death in 1935 and that Scheops has no claim to it. A federal judge rejected the case due to a lack of jurisdiction, but Schoeps filed a civil suit in an attempt to claim the painting, titled "Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto." Schoeps seeks $60 million in damages and the return of the paintingBoth Christies and the Foundation question Scheop's motives for making claim, especially as he was silent when the painting was purchased, with much publicity, by the Foundation in 1995. Proceeds from the sale of the portrait would have gone to charity.