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Leading art museum founder dies

Ernst Beyeler, founder of internationally renowned Swiss art museum the Beyeler Foundation, has died aged 88.

This content was published on February 26, 2010 - 09:28

Beyeler's eye for undervalued Picassos and Impressionists enabled him to become Switzerland's most famous art collector.

Beyeler and wife Hildy were both involved in founding Art Basel in the 1970s. It has since become the largest international fair of contemporary art.

The couple married in 1948, with Hildy becoming a constant companion in her husband's art business. She died in July 2008 aged 86.

The Beyelers opened their museum in Riehen near Basel in 1997. Some 200 works of classic modernism reflect the views of the Beyelers on 20th-century art and highlight works typical of the period from Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Francis Bacon.

"Art must touch you and leave a strong visual and mental impression upon you," Beyeler once said in an interview.

The collection is estimated by the Swiss magazine Bilanz to be worth at least SFr2 billion ($1.85 billion).

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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