Part of Swiss collector's exceptional art trove to be sold

8th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Works by many of the world's greatest modern and impressionist artists will be sold at auction in June with the closure of the gallery of late Swiss art trader Ernst Beyeler, auctioneers Christie's said on Sunday.

The paintings, sculptures and sketches from Beyeler and his wife Hildy's private gallery collection include works by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Matisse, Kokoschka, Klee, Leger, Dubuffet and Roy Lichtenstein, the auction house said.

Ernst Beyeler, who became renowned for building one of the most impressive international collections of 20th century art, died at the age of 88 in February 2010, less than two years after Hildy.

"Many generations of specialists and collectors have seen their taste forged by Beyeler's eye," said Jussi Pylkkaenen, president of Christie's Europe, Middle East and Russia.

"To buy from Ernst Beyeler was to buy great 20th century modernism, and to buy from Beyeler was to buy the best," he added.

During his lifetime, Beyeler had already donated much of his collection, more than 200 seminal works, to a foundation and its purpose-built museum next to his native city of Basel.

However, he still owned many cherished works through his small gallery in the city centre.

The Swiss gallery announced late Friday that it was closing in keeping with the couple's last wishes and that its funds would be used to raise money for the Fondation Beyeler.

"We look forward to a tremendous atmosphere in the saleroom and to raising a significant sum for the Fondation Beyeler, which remains the great legacy of Ernst Beyeler's personal generosity and vision," said Pylkkaenen.

The auction is to take place in London on June 21-22.

© 2011 AFP

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