Giacometti Foundation Moves Forward With New Building and Catalogue Raisonné

Alberto Giacometti, Pointing Man (1947), bronze with patina, hand-painted sold for $141.3 million, the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction.
Photo: Courtesy Christie's.

The Giacometti Foundation is moving forward with plans for a 1,150-square foot building in Paris, with an exact replica of the artist’s famous studio in the 14th Arrondissement, according to a recent report by Farah Nayeri in the New York Times. The report outlines how the new plans represent the foundation’s determination to leave behind the past few tumultuous decades during which rival entities (an association started by his wife Annette and the later-created foundation) “operated in parallel, and wrangled in court.”

The report cites Catherine Grenier, the current director of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, and the former deputy director of the Pompidou Centre, as the source, though the news has not been officially announced. “Since its creation in 2003,” Nayeri wrote, “the foundation has been mired in disputes with rival bodies and Giacometti family members over the right to represent the artist and make posthumous casts of his work.

Now, Grenier wants to open the foundation to the world, and “start a more peaceful chapter” including making “its extraordinary collection accessible.” The foundation is also publishing the first catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work and lending more extensively to Giacometti exhibitions around the world including  one at the Tate Modern in 2017 and another of Giacometti portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London this year. For next year, an exhibition of Picasso and Giacometti is planned for the Musée Picasso and another show at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the latter of which was founded by billionaire collector Budi Tek.

Clearly, the turmoil has had no effect on Giacometti’s market. The Swiss-born sculptor is one of the most expensive artists at auction today. In addition to $104.3 million price set for Walking Man (1960) at Sotheby’s in 2010 (which for a time held the record for the most expensive work sold at auction), Chariot (1950), sold for $101 million at Sotheby’s New York this past November (albeit on a single bid).

Next month, Christie’s New York plans to offer Giacometti’s Pointing Man (1947), with an estimate in the region of $130 million, making it likely that the work could become the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction. According to several reports, the consignor of Pointing Man is real estate developer Sheldon Solow.

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