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November 21, 2009

Sotheby’s to Sell Works from Sammlung Lenz Schonberg Collection

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Sotheby’s has announced the upcoming auction of a series of 49 important works from the renowned Sammlung Lenz Schönberg Collection of “Zero-Art”, assembled by Mr. and Mrs. Lenz over a period of 50 years. The sale will take place in February 2010, as part of Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Auction. The pieces include several different forms of media by a range of contemporary and post-war artists, such as Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Günther Uecker, Roman Opalka and Victor Vasarely, all of whom belonged to the European movement “Zero”. Combined, these works are estimated to bring in more than $19.8 million.

Chairman of Contemporary Art for Sotheby’s Europe, Cheyenne Westphal, explained the works’ extraordinary value, stating, “The collection of Mr. and Mrs. Gerhard Lenz is the largest and most comprehensive group of museum-quality ‘Zero’ movement art ever to have been assembled. To be offering for sale this representative selection of works from a collection of such outstanding provenance and quality is a great privilege for Sotheby’s. We anticipate that the appearance of these works at auction early next year will further advance the international appreciation of this pivotal period of art history and generate tremendous excitement among collectors and connoisseurs of Post-War and Contemporary Art around the world.”

After 50 years, Anna and Gerhard Lenz are now taking time to reflect on their vital engagement with contemporary art in Europe. Throughout their impressive half-century of investing in art, they’ve assembled a comprehensive selection of 600 works and have repeatedly exhibited them with their own funding. In total there have been thirteen museum exhibitions in cities all across Europe, including Barcelona, Frankfurt, Madrid, Munich, Moscow, Salzburg and Warsaw. Most important to Mr. and Mrs. Lenz has been to prove that these artists—50 in all—represent the same point of view while remaining independent of one another. Spiritually and effectively, they present a shared consciousness of Europe in artistic terms.

Following the destruction of WWII and the ensuing defeat of fascism, a new world opened up. “Zero” embraces the vision of a brighter, more peaceful world, one that engages with the principles of monochrome and dynamism, movement and light.

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