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Details about the sale of the Darmstadt Madonna by Holbein the Younger from 1526 | - 2011-07-15


The reason for the sale is that the Hesse family was faced with an inheritance tax bill of DM25m after the death in 1997 of the last of the southern branch of the family, Margaret von Hesse and bei Rhein, and the consequent merger of all its holdings with the northern, Kassel, branch of the family.

Germany has no equivalent of the British or French methods for paying tax with works of art, nor does it have an independent tribunal to assess the true market value of an unexportable work. Christoph Douglas, who negotiated the sale, persuaded the prince to give the Städel Museum in Frankfurt first refusal, but it was unable to raise more than €40m. He then nearly succeeded in a deal whereby the museum and Reinhold Würth would share both the picture and the cost 50/50, but this failed due to lawyers' worries over what would happen on the death of Würth.


Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

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