The art collection of a Holocaust survivor who became one of the foremost Pablo Picasso dealers goes on sale in New York next month for an expected $170 million.

The 160 drawings, paintings and sculptures owned by Jan Krugier include Old Masters and 20th century European masterpieces, as well as Latin American and African art.

Auction house Christie's expects the collection to fetch around $170 million when it goes under the hammer as individual lots on November 4-5.

The highlights include a Kandinsky autumn landscape from 1911 expected to sell for up to $25 million, as well as Picasso drawings, paintings and sculptures.

Krugier's harrowing life story reflects the horrors endured by millions at the hands of the Nazis across Europe during World War II.

Born in Poland in 1928 to a prosperous Jewish businessman and a mother who died young, he joined the Polish resistance but was captured by the Germans.

He escaped a Nazi labor camp, but was recaptured and sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and on a forced march before Allied forces eventually liberated him.

His entire family was killed during the war but incredibly he managed to survive, at times on a potato a day, before being adopted by a Swiss philanthropist.

He studied art in Switzerland and set up influential galleries in Geneva and New York in the 1960s.

He maintained a close friendship with Picasso's granddaughter Marina, which helped him to become one of the world's most important dealers of the celebrated artist.