Monique et Jean-Paul Barbier-Mueller
2000 Prize awarded to Monique et Jean-paul Barbier-Mueller, Collectors
Monday, November 6, 2000 at 6:00 pm, Museum of Art and History, Geneva
A name, Barbier-Mueller. One immediately associates these Genevans, who are passionate about the so-called primitive or early arts, with the discreet museum on Calvin Street in the Old Town or, more recently, with the Museo Barbier-Mueller d’Arte Precolombino in Barcelona (its annex, as Alain Vaissade dares to call it with a touch of regret in his voice). A collection that includes more than 6,000 sculptures, masks, textiles, objects of prestige or body adornment and that regularly enriches with its works numerous exhibitions held in Paris or elsewhere. The Barbier-Mueller family also assembled an important collection of Italian Renaissance poetry, which they generously donated to the University of Geneva in 1998. They thus completed Josef Mueller’s collections of contemporary paintings, which were already famous fifty years ago.
Unquestionably, Monique and Jean-Paul Barbier-Mueller, through their immense knowledge of these very diverse worlds and through the countless contacts and friendships they have made, have carried the name of Geneva all over the world, in the most varied circles.
It was therefore time to pay tribute to this couple whose passion for art contributed to putting Geneva on the map of the cultural world. Whether through Guy-Olivier Segond, President of the State Council, or Alain Vaissade, the Geneva authorities have expressed their gratitude to Monique and Jean-Paul Barbier-Mueller with panache. Likewise, Cäsar Menz, director of the Museum of Art and History, gave a vibrant praise to the two laureates of the Foundation’s Prize, noting in particular the fruitful collaboration between the Barbier-Mueller Museum and the Museum of Art and History. A collaboration of which the 300 guests had the opportunity to taste the fruit. The award ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Museum of Art and History and was followed by a guided tour by Jean-Paul Barbier-Mueller and Cäsar Menz of the exhibition entitled “The Creation of the World – Fernand Léger and African Art from the Barbier-Mueller Collections”.
Orchestrated by Ivan Pictet and Françoise Demole, animated with grace by a company of dancers, this evening of November 6 was as elegant and enchanting as the concluding words addressed from Togo by Monique Barbier-Mueller: “Being open to the multiple aspects of human creation allows each of us to access those high spheres of spiritual adventure to which we unconsciously aspire”.