€19.4 Million Ruling Against Achenbach as Collection Hits Auction Block

Helge Achenbach Photo: Andreas Endermann via RP-Online
Helge Achenbach.
Photo: Andreas Endermann via RP-Online.

A district court in Düsseldorf ruled on Tuesday that German art adviser Helge Achenbach must pay €19.4 million in damages to the heirs of Aldi Supermarket heir Berthold Albrecht, the DPA reports. The ruling culminates a civil court case brought against Achenbach following allegations that he defrauded Albrecht of up to €23 million (see Fraud Claim Against Art Adviser). The art adviser is also part of a criminal trial, taking place in Essen. He has confessed to portions of the allegations (see Achenbach Gives Surprise Partial-Confession in Fraud Case and Achenbach Confesses to Yet More Fraud)

Meanwhile, German auction house Van Ham has won the rights to sell artworks still owned by the adviser’s bankrupt company, Achenbach Art Consulting. The consignment follows extensive negotiations with administrator Marc d’Avoine and the company’s creditors. The sales will take place in June 2015.

According to artnet News’ sources, Sotheby’s has also secured around 100 pieces from the collection, which will be auctioned in New York. Achenbach’s company filed for bankruptcy following the fraud allegations.

The collection is said to include around 1,600 pieces. According to a statement, the facilities at Van Ham’s impressive new headquarters, which include museum-quality exhibition spaces and auction rooms, were a significant factor in securing the consignment.

Van Ham is due to sell around 100 pieces at an evening sale in Cologne, including works by blue-chip artists such as Jörg Immendorff, Markus Lüpertz, Joseph Beuys, and Georg Baselitz. The remaining 1,400 pieces will go under the hammer at two separate day sales in Düsseldorf.

Estimates for the works from the collection have been set from a few hundred euros to high five-figure sums. The works on offer range from small-format prints to large-scale canvases.


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