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Van Ham to auction 4,000 contemporary works from SØR Rusche collection

Dutch Old Masters in the retailer’s corporate collection are to be sold at Sotheby’s

Thomas Rusche (pictured) has amassed an impressive collection of contemporary art Photo: courtesy of Thomas Rusche

More than 4,000 contemporary works belonging to SØR Rusche, a clothing retailer based in Oelde, Germany, are to go under the hammer at Van Ham auction house in Cologne over the course of 2019, while Sotheby’s will auction Dutch Old Masters from the same collection.

Neo Rauch, Alicja Kwade, Daniel Richter, Tracey Emin, Phyllida Barlow and Jonathan Meese are among the contemporary artists represented in the SØR Rusche collection, according to a statement from Van Ham. The Dutch 17th-century works include paintings by Pieter Claesz, David Teniers, Cornelis van der Meulen, Michaelina Wautier and Jan van Goyen.

We have decided to sell the corporate collection to finance the digital transformation of our company Thomas Rusche, managing director, SØR Rusche

The contemporary works will be sold in a series of auctions starting on 29 May, when 150 pieces presented in a special catalogue will be on offer in Van Ham’s Modern, Post-war and Contemporary sale. Van Ham said it will be the biggest collection ever auctioned in Germany.

“We have decided to sell the corporate collection of SØR Rusche to finance the digital transformation of our company and to secure jobs for the long term,” says Thomas Rusche, the managing director of SØR Rusche, which owns 60 clothing shops across Germany.

The Rusche collection has been amassed over decades, and until now it was kept in Berlin and Oelde. Thomas Rusche’s father Egon collected Dutch Old Masters. Since 2005, Thomas Rusche has concentrated on contemporary art, particularly on artists based in Berlin and Leipzig. The focus of the collection is on painting, but it also includes sculpture, photography, prints, video works, collages and installations. A part of the collection was exhibited in 2015 in Nuremberg and Rusche has frequently loaned works to museums.