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Banker’s Heir Loses Bid |to Block Picasso Sale

(CN) - The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation can sell a Picasso painting at auction without interference from a man who claims his family was forced to sell the artwork in Germany before World War II, a New York appellate division ruled.

Julius Schoeps sought to block the sale as heir to one-eighth of the estate of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a German-Jewish banker.

Schoeps claimed that Bartholdy, his great-uncle and descendent of composer Felix Mendelssohn, was forced to sell Pablo Picasso's "The Absinthe Drinker (Angel Ferdinand de Soto)" to a German art dealer under pressure from the Nazi regime.

The trial court dismissed the case, ruling that Schoeps lacked standing to block the sale because he was not the executor of Bartholdy's estate.

Justice Nardelli of the 1st Department Appellate Division in Manhattan agreed.

"Absent extraordinary circumstances, even a party who is the sole beneficiary of the estate cannot act on its behalf or exercise fiduciary's rights with respect to estate property," Nardelli wrote.

"The appropriate avenue is to be appointed a representative pursuant to the requirements of the Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law," the justice added.

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