A life with and for art
Between November 2002 and February 2003, Christophe Mory conducted a series of recorded interviews with Ernst Beyeler. These conversations subsequently became the basis of this book. The result is a fascinating biography addressed at a wide readership, one that brings us much closer to the glittering figure of Ernst Beyeler. Who was this remarkable man, who, over the decades, single-handedly built up one of the world’s finest and most important private collections of 20th-century art? In the areas of Cubism (Picasso) and abstract painting (Kandinsky, Klee), in particular, the holdings of the Beyeler Collection remain second to none.
Ernst Beyeler (1921–2010) had no formal training in art or art history. In 1945 he took the step from selling antiquarian books to dealing in art, but always maintained his independence from the great art centers of Paris, New York and London. The quality of the works that passed through Beyeler’s gallery, and the exhibitions he organized, rapidly earned him world renown. With the building of the museum – designed by Renzo Piano – in Riehen, and the establishment of the Fondation Beyeler, Ernst Beyeler created a lasting framework for his vision of preserving and nurturing art for future generations. Ernst Beyeler talks with infectious enthusiasm about a life of devotion to and immersion in art.