Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Lloyd Webber art dispute resolved

Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto
Lord Lloyd Webber bought the painting for 18m in 1995

A dispute which saw the auction of 1903 Picasso painting owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber halted, has been resolved.

The work, Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto, was to be auctioned in 2006 but it was withdrawn at the last minute over claims about its Nazi-era history.

A German man, Professor Julius Schoeps, claimed his ancestor was forced to sell the work during the 1930s.

It had been expected to fetch up to $60m (£37.6m) when it was listed for sale at Christie's, New York.

A judge stopped the sale after Professor Schoeps, an heir to Berlin banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, claimed his ancestor had to sell the Picasso at a low price after being forced to flee his mansion.

At the time, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation said the claims were "utterly spurious".


Mr von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, whose family had converted from Judaism to Christianity, died in 1935.

In a statement on Thursday, his heirs announced they had reached a settlement agreement with the trustees of The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation, relinquishing all claims of title to the painting.

The foundation said it was "pleased" by the annoucement.

It is not known what will happen to the painting now.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation bought the painting in 1995 for £18m. At the time he said the artwork was "mesmeric".

The musician's foundation had planned to donate the money raised from the auction to a variety of arts charities.

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