Sotheby's - Contemporary Art - The Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs to be offered in New York This spring in New York and later this year in London, Sotheby’s will offer works from the Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs, one of the most important German private collections
News-Antique.com - Apr 02,2008 - ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT GERMAN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS OF CONTEMPORARY ART TO EVER APPEAR ON THE MARKET
COLLECTION COMPRISES SUPERLATIVE EXAMPLES OF MINIMALISM, POP ART, NEW REALISM, CONCEPTUAL ART AND ARTE POVERA
New York, New York – This spring in New York and later this year in London, Sotheby’s will offer works from the Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs, one of the most important German private collections of Contemporary art to ever appear on the market. This collection includes major works from artists ranging from Joseph Beuys, Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni, to Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Tom Wesselmann and Robert Rauschenberg, and comprises important representatives of Minimalism, Pop art, New Realism, Conceptual art and Arte Povera. Approximately 34 works will be offered in Sotheby’s May 14th-15th sales of Contemporary Art in New York (est. in excess of $49 million*), with further works being offered in London later this year in sales of Contemporary Art and Prints**. The total value of the works being offered at auction is estimated in excess of $76 million.
Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, said: “The Lauffs collection, with its seamless range of important examples of works from every major American and European art movement of the 60s and 70s, creates a uniquely coherent ensemble. At the same time, by singling out and highlighting artists who, in their eyes, diverged from the mainstream, Helga and Walther Lauffs added a personal touch and distinctive direction to the body of works. The melding of these components plus the remarkable collaboration with their percipient friend and advisor, Paul Wember, forge the key to this extraordinary treasure.”
Two key figures are essential to an appreciation of the unique characteristics of the Lauffs collection of Contemporary art: Walther Lauffs, businessman and art enthusiast, and Paul Wember, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld Germany. When they met in 1968, Mr. Lauffs persuaded the farsighted director to assist him in building a Contemporary art collection in exchange for long-term loans of the acquired pieces to Wember’s museum. Their collaboration marked the beginning of a close friendship and underscored a mutual interest and love of art that inspired one of the most esteemed collections of 1960s and 1970s Contemporary art from America and Europe.
When Walther Lauffs met him, Paul Wember had been director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Museum since 1947 and had a distinguished reputation as an active supporter of current art movements and organizer of internationally acknowledged exhibitions of artists such as Alberto Burri (1959), Jean Tinguely and Yves Klein (1960/61) and Robert Rauschenberg (1962). His confidence and keen eye for excellence singled him out during a period when awareness and appreciation for young artists was in rare supply. Wember managed, almost single-handedly, to turn the provincial silk-weaving town of Krefeld into a respected center for Contemporary art. Walther Lauffs and his wife, Helga, recognized Wember’s extraordinary
talent for discerning excellence and sought his guidance in fine-tuning their own developing tastes and in bringing an awareness of