Works from Legendary Art Connoisseur Ernst Beyeler Estate to go on the Block


Paul Gauguin’s “Le Vallon, Tahiti,” oil on canvas (1892 ) is expected to realized $9-$14 million in a sale of works from the Ernst Beyeler estate.

LONDON – Works of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art from the estate of Ernst Beyeler—the late Swiss art connoisseur who was a noted art dealer, collector and curator—will be auctioned in London on June 21-21, giving buyers the opportunity to purchase important pieces by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir and Picasso, among many others.

The sale, to be facilitated by Christie’s London, will include art works Beyeler and his wife Hildy lived with at their private home, as well as significant paintings and sculptures from the Galerie Beyeler.

Ernst Beyeler

Beyeler opened his celebrated gallery at Bäumleingasse 9 in Basel, Switzerland, in 1945, and hosted more than 300 major exhibitions over the next 45 years. Beyeler sold more than 16,000 works of art during his lifetime. Over the years, the Galerie Beyeler produced celebrated exhibitions featuring marquee works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Vassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, Jean Dubuffet, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, Roy Lichtenstein, Georg Baselitz and many other important artists. These shows were eagerly anticipated by connoisseurs, collectors and press alike, as Beyeler had his choice of the very best works from the artists. Even Picasso granted him the privilege to select works directly from the studio.

Beyeler died on Feb. 25, 2010, at the age of 88, less than two years after his wife Hildy. His last will stated that the Galerie Beyeler should be closed and that the works he owned should be sold to benefit the Fondation Beyeler.

“Many generations of specialists and collectors have seen their taste forged by Beyeler’s eye. To buy from Ernst Beyeler was to buy great 20th century modernism, and to buy from Beyeler was to buy the best,” said Jussi Pylkkänen, president of Christie’s Europe, Middle East and Russia.

Said Andreas Rumbler, Senior Director of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie’s: “Ernst Beyeler was a model dealer who inspired great trust and confidence in those who worked with him and who bought exceptional paintings from him. It is a great honor to be entrusted with this sale. Ernst was much admired by several generations of specialists at Christie’s, myself included,”

“Miss May Belfort,” by Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec (1895) has a presale estimate of $3-$4 million.

Among the many highlights of the upcoming sales are significant works by Monet, Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Matisse, Alexej von Jawlensky, Oscar Kokoschka, Alberto Giacometti, Calder, Paul Klee, Fernand Léger, Jean Arp, Jean Dubuffet, Mark Tobey, Frank Stella, Lichtenstein, Baselitz and Anselm Kiefer among others.

The highlights of Christie’s Evening Sale on June 21 will include a great late Monet, “Nymphéas,” executed between 1916 and 1919. Painted on a grand scale, this magnificent painting is a precursor to the post-war abstractions of Rothko, Clyfford Still and Sam Francis.

No major Beyeler exhibition was complete without a great Picasso, and so it is fitting that the auction will include the artist’s “Buste de Françoise,” a great colorist portrait of 1946. Other masterpieces include Gauguin’s “Le Vallon Tahiti” of 1892, Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Miss May Belfort” of 1895, Renoir’s “Nu allongé” of 1902, and Léger’s “Le Drapeau” of 1919.

Aside from these masterpieces, the auctions will also include a selection of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, as well as a superb group of 30 Picasso ceramics.

For more information about this auction, visit the Christie’s web site.


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