SOTHEBY’S TO OFFER A MAJOR MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE BY ALBERTO GIACOMETTI SOTHEBY’S TO OFFER A MAJOR MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE BY ALBERTO GIACOMETTI - Only life-time cast of this subject ever to come to auction
War his figures were reduced to their bare essential form, displaying an austerity that embodies the artist’s existentialist concerns, and reflecting the lonely and vulnerable human condition. L’Homme qui marche I represents the pinnacle of Giacometti’s experimentation with the human form, combining a monumental, imposing size with a rich rendering of the surface.
Capturing a moment in the figure’s movement, Giacometti created both a humble image of an ordinary man, and a potent symbol of humanity. The sculpture originated as part of the public project that Giacometti was commissioned to do for the Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York. In 1956, a committee consisting of curators and major figures from principal public museums in New York
and Boston selected Giacometti over Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi for the scheme which was planned as the first modernist outdoor project in the city's financial district. In preparation for the project, Giacometti executed a number of sculptures only a few of which remain today, among them L'Homme qui marche I and II. Realising that it would take him many years to complete, Giacometti eventually abandoned the scheme. L'Homme qui marche I, however, became an iconic work in its own right: evidently pleased with the versions of the walking man he had produced for the purpose, Giacometti had them cast in bronze. A cast of L'Homme qui marche I was subsequently exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1962.
Giacometti paid significant attention to the modelling of his works, and L’Homme qui marche I exhibits a vibrancy and
vitality unique to his sculpture. The rich treatment of the bronze, its recesses and moulds, create a dynamic surface, and invite a play of light and shadow in such a way that they become a part of the work itself. Other examples of this sculpture are in major museum collections, such as the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. The cast belonging to the Fondation Maeght, St. Paul-de-Vence was recently on view at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, in the
exhibition Behind the Mirror: Aimé Maeght and his Artists held in 2008-09.
IMAGES AVAILABLE VIA EMAIL
*The last time a cast of L’homme qui marche appeared at auction was in November 1988. That particular cast, a posthumous edition, sold for £3.74 million ($6.82 million) – at the time, a record for the artist.