Berlin Auction Raises $33 Million With Karstadt, Selbach Art

Villa Grisebach Auktionen GmbH raised 23 million euros ($33 million) in its Berlin spring auctions with art from the collections of department-store company Arcandor AG (ARO) and fashion retailer Dolf Selbach.

The total value in the May 26-28 sales represented an increase of 65 percent from the previous year’s auctions, Villa Grisebach said in a statement sent by e-mail. The highest price for a single artwork was 1 million euros paid by a private New York buyer for Lucio Fontana’s “Concetto Spaziale” from Selbach’s collection, the auction house said.

“Never before were there so many international bidders in the auction room and on the telephone,” the statement said.

Arcandor, the former owner of the Karstadt chain of department stores, sold 114 artworks from its collection in the Villa Grisebach sale. The company filed for insolvency in 2009.

Top lots from the insolvent retailer’s collection included Ernst Wilhelm Nay’s 1960 oil painting “Chromatische Scheiben” (Chromatic Disks), which a Berlin private collector bought for 915,000 euros, twice the previous highest price for the artist, the auction house said.

An outdoor sculpture by Norbert Kricke was bought by a private Rhineland collector for 488,000 euros. Most of the works were by German artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Selbach, who died last year, opened his first exclusive men’s fashion store in Dusseldorf in 1957, followed by shops in Berlin and Hamburg. His collection fetched 5.6 million euros in the sale, double the estimate. A southern German museum paid 719,800 euros for a painting by Fernando Botero from Selbach’s collection.

To contact the writer on the story: Catherine Hickley in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at

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