Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller

Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller, keen collectors with an extremely sharp eye, have always been extraordinarily curious and had an extremely good knowledge of arts from all around the world.


They expressed their interest in transmitting non-European collections and their desire to keep collections united in 1977 with the creation of the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, which preserves and perpetuates the collections begun by Josef Mueller in 1907. They also had a strong link with the musée national des arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, whose collection merged with that of the musée du quai Branly - with which they were also particularly close. The couple pointed out a filled in the gaps in these collections. (


The number of exceptional works given or sold by Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller to the musée du quai Branly is equal to 1228, of which 502 are donations.


On Tuesday March 11th 2008, Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller gave two Olmec works to the musée du Quai Branly during a special evening, in the presence of the Minister of Culture and Communication (see the Americas section).


The donations by Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller to the musée du quai Branly have enriched all of the Collections from mixed geographical areas.

ceremonial sword © musée du quai Branly



In 1996 and 1997, the musée national des arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie bought 262 Nigerian sculptures from Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller.

Eight donations have completed this set of objects from Nigeria:         


  • a ceremonial sword

  • a pair of anthropomorphic Ogboni statuettes

  • a Yoruba horseman

  • an Ijo crested helmet

  • a Mumuye seat

  • an Ibo costume

  • a zoomorphic crested mask

  • a Yoruba bell


Two other donations complete the Museum’s African collection:


  • a Baoule statuette (Ivory Coast), donated in 1994

  • an anthropomorphic Fon figurine (Benin), donated in 1996




In 1999, Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller donated four very important pieces.

These works are exhibited in the Pavillon des Sessions, an outpost of the musée du quai Branly in the Louvre museum. They comprise:

  • a pair of ana deo poles (Flores island)
  • a pole (Salomon islands)
  • a male sculpture (Nias island)
pair of Ana Deo poles from Flores island © musée du quai Branly photo Hughes Dubois
pole from the Salomon Islands © musée du quai Branly photo Hughes Dubois

In 2001, thanks to Jean Paul Barbier, the Museum’s Malay Archipelago collection gained 692 objects from Indonesia and 120 from the Philippines. Half of these pieces are donations:

  • 112 textiles

  • 287 pieces of jewelry that are all exhibited in the Museum’s Permanent Collection as treasure chests and jewelry displays

ifugao earrings © musée du quai Branly
crown (Nias Island) © musée du quai Branly
batak Karo bracelet © musée du quai Branly

  • a Pagar Batak statue

  • a Sigale-gale Batak puppet

men’s ceremonial robes (Naga – Nagaland, Inde) /photo Patrick Gries / Valérie Torre© musée du quai Branly
house door (Kalash - NWFP, Pakistan) / photo Patrick Gries





In 2001, 80 pieces donated by Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller completed the museum’s Asian collection, apart from four objects from Taiwan and a Kalash funeral effigy which were bought.




These donations include:



  • 69 Naga objects and jewelry sets (Nagaland, India)

  • a Kalash hat and dress (Kohistan, Pakistan)

  • a Kalash chair from Swat (NWFP, Pakistan)

  • two Kalash house poles, exhibited near the entrance to the Claude Lévi-Strauss Theater

  • a Kalash house door (NWFP, Pakistan), in the Permanent Collections

  • a bronze swing from Bastar (Chhattisgarh, India)


The Americas

In 2003, four pieces donated by Jean Paul Barbier were added to the Museum’s Americas collection:


In 2008, two Olmec pieces donated by Jean Paul Barbier and Monique Barbier-Mueller joined the Musée du quai Branly collections:


  • an Olmec terracotta figurine, Las Bocas, Mexico, (between 500 BC. and 400 AD). Height: 21 cm                              

  • an Olmec antigorite figurine of the “baby face” type, Mexico (1150 – 550 BC.). Height : 6.3 cm