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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Christie’s to host Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas auction on May 10 in New York

On May 10, Christie’s is pleased to present the sale of Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas including Property from the Estate of Ernst Beyeler. The works of art from Beyeler’s collection offered in the sale includes a rare Santa Cruz Islands Platter (pictured above), a rare and important Lega ivory mask, and a Veracruz Smiling figure.

Ernst Beyeler opened his celebrated gallery at Bäumleingasse 9 in Basel in 1945. Over the next 65 years the gallery would hold over 300 major exhibitions, which were attended by collectors and museum curators from all over the globe, to whom Beyeler would sell over 16,000 works of art during his lifetime. The gallery’s name quickly became synonymous with the greatest artists of the 20th century, many of whom Ernst Beyeler knew personally. Beyeler’s great eye and sense for quality became legendary.

As his gallery prospered in the post-war years, Beyeler was responsible for selling great masterpieces to leading museums and, in 1970, Ernst Beyeler co-founded Art Basel. Throughout their lifetime, Ernst and his wife, Hildy, became quite avid collectors, themselves, and in 2011, Christie’s London had the privilege of selling some of the couple’s exquisite Post-War, Contemporary, Impressionist, and Modern works.

In 1947 Beyeler held his first exhibition, which featured Japanese woodcuts, demonstrating his early interest in non-Western art. The genesis of Beyeler’s tribal art odyssey occurred in the late 1950’s. He held his first exhibition of African art in 1958, during a time when ‘tribal’ works of art were reaching an international stage in the post-War art world. He maintained his interest in tribal art over the years as someone who clearly understood it as key to the language of Modern art. The African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian works of art from Beyeler’s collection demonstrates the continued relevance of tribal art within the contemporary art world today. Many of the sculptures offered in the sale, such as the Pre-Columbian works of art, lined Beyeler’s wall since the early 1960’s.

Complete catalogue available online at or via Christie’s Mobile, iPhone, iPad and Android apps.