One-hundred-and-sixty-three works from the former Peter Stuyvesant Collection, property of British American Tobacco Netherlands (BAT), will auction on Monday March 8, 2010.
The collection is expected realise in excess of €4m when it sells at Sotheby's.
by Niki de Saint-Phalle, 1965,
It is also the largest collection of Post War and Contemporary Art ever to come at auction in the Netherlands.
Starting in the late 1950s, it became famous as the Peter Stuyvesant Collection and now consists of more than 1,000 works created by artists from over 40 countries.
The core body of the collection, which will be offered for sale in March, comprises 163 works by leading artists such as Karel Appel, Arman, Alighiero Boetti, Corneille, Alan Davie, Simon Hantai, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger and Per Kirkeby.
Works by Wilfredo Lam, Robert Mangold, Robert S. Matta, Kenneth Noland, Roman Opalka, Niki de St Phalle, Serge Poliakoff, Manuel Rivera, David Salle, Giuseppe Santomaso, Jan Schoonhoven, Jesus Rafael Soto, Gunther Uecker and Victor Vaserely will also appear.
All these artworks are completely fresh to the market.
As remarkable as the collection itself, is the inspiring story behind how it was formed.
In the late-1950s, Alexander Orlow, Managing Director of Turmac Tobacco, put his love for abstract art to industrial use.
"However complicated the operations of a machine may look," he said, "it soon becomes monotonous to a factory worker."
Orlow wanted to improve the employee's working environment and raise the spirits of his dedicated workers.
He did this by building, year-by-year, what eventually became a world-class collection of large and colourful contemporary artworks.
They were specifically chosen to be shown in the factories above the machinery, so providing inspiration and stimulation.
"Alexander Orlow came up with the sublime idea to place paintings by modern artists in the factories surrounded by the industrial process," said Dr Wim Beeren, one of the advisers to the collection.
"It demonstrated the great faith that Orlow had in the works of art to create a stimulating environment within the work process."
The sale takes place on March 8.