By a collector for collectors 

What makes a collector cross over to the other side of the mirror?

For Genevan Stéphane Barbier-Mueller, it was not merely a passing fancy, but the deep and lingering desire to share a portion of his family history and cultural heritage with other aesthetes. He grew up in a household where art was a central and essential part of life. In just two generations, his family assembled what came to be the world’s most important private collection of ethnographic art! The collection of over seven thousand pieces includes paintings, ethnographic art from Africa and Oceania, pre-Colombian art, masterpieces from antiquity, and original editions of rare Renaissance books. His parents created the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva, a private museum that has collaborated with many other institutions around the world for forty years.

As for his interest in horology, Stéphane Barbier-Mueller no doubt inherited it from his mother’s side of the family. They had a profile-turning factory in Soleure that often worked for watchmakers. His grandfather, on the other hand, preferred to spend his time and money acquiring modern paintings and ethnographic art – an art form that was little known at the time.

Stéphane Barbier-Mueller’s fascination with history led him to become interested in numismatics, thus blending his interest in important historical figures with his passion for a mythical metal – gold. It seemed only natural that, as an aesthete who was passionate about both history and fine horology, Stéphane Barbier-Mueller would at some point venture beyond mere possession, and become involved in transmission... 

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