New world record for Giacometti sculpture likely

‘Stick man’ bronze estimated by Christie’s at $130m

‘L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man)’ by Alberto Giacometti

‘L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man)’ by Alberto Giacometti

 

Christie’s is hoping that its New York auction on May 11th will also see a new world record achieved for sculpture.

It is has announced an estimate in the region of $130 million for L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man) by Alberto Giacometti.

The curator of Christie’s auction, Loic Gouzer, said: “Since I’ve been in the auction business, I’ve always heard that Giacometti’s Pointing Man was the ultimate masterpiece of sculpture from a collector’s point of view.

“Being able to offer it in the same night alongside Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) is more than just a dream come true – because I would have never dared to dream it,” he said.

L’homme au doigt (Pointing Man) is a life-size bronze and one of the famous “stick man’ pieces for which the artist is famous.

Bronze

Christie’s described the sculpture as “cast in bronze and standing whippet-thin at five feet ten inches, this dynamic and powerful figure is widely recognised as one of the most important sculptural achievements of the Modern era”.

Giacometti conceived the work in 1947 and made six casts of it plus one artist’s proof. Today, four are in major museums (including the Tate Modern in London and New York’s Museum of Modern Art); the remaining two are in foundation collections and private hands.

Private collector

The version for sale has been owned by an unnamed private collector for the last 45 years and has never appeared at auction before. Christie’s said it is “the only bronze version of Pointing Man that Giacometti painted by hand in order to heighten its expressive impact, making this a singular opportunity for the world’s top collectors”.

The current record price for sculpture at auction is for a piece also by Giacometti titled L’Homme qui marche I (The Walking Man I) which sold for $103.9 million in 2010 at Sotheby’s.

Alberto Giacometti, a painter as well as a sculptor, was born in 1901 in Borgonovo in the canton of Grisons in eastern Switzerland close to the Italian border; Giacometti was buried there in 1966.

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