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The remarkable Barbier-Mueller Collection of Pre-Columbian Art will be up for sale at Sotheby’s Paris on March 22 and 23, 2013. Comprised of approximately 300 works from Mexico, Central America, and South America and worth around $26 million, the Barbier-Mueller collection is the most important grouping of its kind ever offered at auction.

Swiss collector Josef Mueller (1887-1977) started building his collection after acquiring major works by Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) and Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) in Paris during the early 20th century. Mueller went on to develop an affinity for important works of Pre-Columbian art. The collection was later honed and expanded to include African art, Oceanic art, and Cycladic art by Mueller’s daughter, Monique, and her husband, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller.

The works offered at Sotheby’s span the historical cultures that dominated the period from 1200BC to 1500AC and include objects in wood and stone, ceramics, textiles, and ritual items. Highlights from the collection include a Chupicuaro ceramic statue from 500-100BC that is expected to sell for approximately $2.6 million; a Maya ceramic head that Mueller purchased from the film director John Huston estimated to bring $200,000-$325,000; and an Aztec stone figure of a water goddess from 1300-1500 expected to garner over $650,000.  

The Barbier-Mueller Collection of Pre-Columbian Art is on view at Sotheby’s until March 21, 2013.

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