Giacometti’s Buste sur la selle de l’atelier To Be Sold

On 18 October, the renowned auction house Christie’s will once again host its illustrious Avant-Garde(s) Including Thinking Italian sale in Paris.

This event, coinciding with the prestigious Art Basel Paris, promises to be the highlight of the art world.

Among the significant works on display is Alberto Giacometti’s masterpiece, Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier. Created in 1964, this painting represents a pinnacle in Giacometti’s career, marking a period when he devoted equal passion to both painting and sculpture.

A Major Work from Giacometti’s Later Years

Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier was painted during the final years of Giacometti’s life, a time when he was at the zenith of his artistic abilities. This period saw him return to painting with fervour, elevating it to the same esteemed level as his sculpture.

The work is now expected to fetch between 2 to 3 million euros, a testament to its significance and the artist’s enduring legacy.

Alberto Giacometti’s Masterpiece at Christie's
Alberto Giacometti, Buste Sur La Selle De Latelier, 1964

The painting’s provenance adds to its allure. Previously owned by art icons Pierre Matisse and Ernst Beyeler, Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier comes with a rich history. Pierre Matisse, who hosted Giacometti’s first solo exhibition in New York in 1948, was instrumental in shaping his career.

Ernst Beyeler, a fervent admirer, played a crucial role in establishing the Alberto Giacometti Foundation in Zurich. Such illustrious previous owners underscore the painting’s value and importance in 20th-century art history.

Giacometti at His Peak

Post-war Paris was a transformative period for Alberto Giacometti. Returning to the city, he exhibited widely in America, gaining unparalleled recognition. In January 1964, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum awarded him the International Painting Prize.

Later that year, the Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght inaugurated spaces named in his honour. Giacometti’s reputation was further cemented with retrospectives at the Tate in London, MoMA in New York, and the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen.

The 1960s marked a significant shift in Giacometti’s artistic approach. While he was celebrated as one of the foremost sculptors of the 20th century, he began to place painting on an equal footing with his sculptural work.

This era saw the creation of a body of work with no aesthetic equivalent in modern art. Eli Lotar, Giacometti’s last male model, posed for many of these late works, including Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier, encapsulating the artist’s evolving vision.

An Artistic Journey through Provenance

The journey of Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier from Pierre Matisse to Ernst Beyeler highlights its exceptional provenance. Matisse’s support was pivotal, evidenced by Giacometti’s heartfelt letters, reproduced in the MoMA exhibition catalogue.

Beyeler, through his Basel gallery, facilitated the passage of over 350 Giacometti works, with around 15 becoming part of the Fondation Beyeler’s collection. The painting was even featured in the foundation’s 10th-anniversary exhibition in 2007.

“We are honoured to unveil this important oil painting by Alberto Giacometti, Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier, painted in 1964. It will be one of the key works in our forthcoming Avant-Garde(s) Including Thinking Italian auction on October 18th in Paris – in parallel with the Art Basel Paris fair.

Originally owned by the famous New York art dealer Pierre Matisse, then by his daughter Jacqueline Matisse-Monnier, this painting has not reappeared on the market for nearly 20 years.

The work invites us to take an intimate tour of the artist’s studio and to contemplate one of the last sculptures he made before his death, the famous bust of the renowned avant-garde photographer Elie Lotar,” said Antoine Lebouteiller, Director of the Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s France.

Exhibition and Auction Details

The public will have the opportunity to view Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier from 10 to 18 October, leading up to the auction on the 18th. This event is part of a series of significant sales, including the Day Sale 20/21 auction on 19 October. These auctions are poised to attract collectors and art enthusiasts from around the globe, eager to own a piece of art history.

The term “Avant-Garde” denotes artists and works that are innovative and ahead of their time. Giacometti’s Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier epitomises this spirit, reflecting his relentless pursuit of new artistic expressions. His ability to transcend traditional boundaries and explore new mediums has solidified his place as a pivotal figure in modern art.

Christie’s has long been a champion of Avant-Garde art, curating auctions that highlight the most influential artists and their groundbreaking works. The upcoming auction not only celebrates Giacometti but also showcases the enduring relevance and appeal of Avant-Garde art in contemporary society.

Giacometti’s legacy extends beyond his artistic achievements. His works continue to inspire and influence new generations of artists. The sale of Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier at Christie’s is a reminder of his profound impact on the art world and the enduring fascination with his life and work.

Conclusion

The Avant-Garde(s) Including Thinking Italian auction at Christie’s is set to be a landmark event, featuring Alberto Giacometti’s Buste sur la Selle de l’Atelier.

With its exceptional provenance and historical significance, this painting offers a unique glimpse into the final years of one of the 20th century’s most influential artists.

Art enthusiasts and collectors alike will undoubtedly be captivated by this rare opportunity to acquire a piece of Giacometti’s legacy.

Images: Christie’s

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