5,000 Works from Essl Collection to be Sold

  • September 02, 2014 00:02

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Agnes and Karlheinz Essl.
Frank Garzarolli, © Sammlung Essl (Essl Collection) Privatstiftung, 2009.
One of Europe's premier collections of contemporary art will be liquidated this October, reported Handelsblatt‘s Friday print edition. A majority of works from the 7,000-piece Essl Collection will be sold with an estimated value of €160 million ($211 million). Premier international artists such as Gerhard Richter, Martin Kippenberger, Georg Baselitz, and Alex Katz are represented along with a core collection of Austrian artists.

Sotheby's and Christie's appraised the works last year although neither company has announced an impending sale from the collection.  Karlheinz Essl, the founder of Baumax hardware in Europe, acquired the art with his wife, Agnes. An unsuccessful attempt to expand Baumax into Eastern Europe and Turkey has put him near insolvency. 

The collection now resides on a rotating basis at the Essl Museum outside of Vienna, Austria. Essl put the art into a charitable trust and he is now reportedly selling it off to save thousands of jobs at his company.

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