• gerard van weyenbergh

Another 100 M Giacometti? Auction price will remain secret.

Will the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti equal Pablo Picasso and become the second artist with four works beyond the symbolic threshold of 100 million dollars on Tuesday?

Plausible hypothesis, but the final price of the sculpture sold at Sotheby's could remain secret. The auction house has chosen a hybrid format, known as a sealed bid, to offer Grande femme I (2.68 m), which is part of a series comprising the most significant sculptures, in size, of Giacometti artworks.

Concretely, these are blind auctions, during which each interested collector can only offer one price, unknown to all until the end of the sale, and necessarily greater than or equal to $ 90 million.

Tuesday around 4:00 p.m. GMT, after the end of the auction period which started on October 21 in New York, Sotheby's will take notice of the bids, the work going to the highest if it is more than 5% higher than the second (a new round will take place if not).

Unlike a traditional auction, Sotheby's will not reveal the purchase price; only the buyer can tell it. It could therefore be that the amount remains secret.

The formula has the merit of drawing attention to a work, as at a classic auction, while preserving the transaction's confidentiality, like a private sale.

Since 2010, the Swiss artist's works have already crossed the threshold of 100 million dollars, the only sculptures to have reached this level. The Man with the Finger, sold for $ 141.2 million in 2015, is the sixth most expensive work of all time at auction.

Alberto Giacometti's distinctive characters have never been in greater demand, driven in part by a new market appetite for sculpture with their too slender bodies.

Grande femme I, part of a series of four sculptures, is "the apotheosis of the exploration (by Alberto Giacometti) of the standing woman throughout her life," explained Brooke Lampley, vice president for fine arts at Sotheby's.

Throughout his career, the sculptor gradually enlarged his works' size to arrive, at the end of his life, with these monumental "Great Women." "The Great Woman wants to be vast, enormous and superior to the human being," situates Brooke Lampley, to "provoke reflection and introspection about your place in this world. "

Star of the autumn sales at Sotheby's, the Great woman will be followed on Wednesday by two consecutive sales, one devoted to contemporary art and the second to impressionist and modern art.

© Le Journal des Arts