PARIS - “In an interview given in 1962, Alberto Giacometti revealed a hitherto unknown aspect of his work: “I tried however to achieve the best possible result with vases for example, and I realised that I was working to create a vase in exactly the same way as I did with sculptures and that there was no difference at all between what I called a sculpture and an object, a vase . . .”

008PF1414_7J5DJ_3Alberto Giacomettis Infini, circa 1935.
Estimate 70,000 – 100,000€.

From 1930 onwards, Jean-Michel Frank, the exceptionally gifted interior designer and inventor of minimalist luxury, urged one of the greatest sculptors of the age to create decorative objects to be delivered to prestigious clients / sponsors.  The designer would later call upon other creative minds including Salvador Dalí, Christian Bérard and Emilio Terry. Giacometti graciously accepted, marking the start of a highly productive partnership, which would last nearly ten years.

It proved a source of pride for the artist to work with the man who was, in many ways, his worthy counterpart in the field of decorative arts. There followed a dialogue of the highest order between the master who championed minimalism and the sculptor who distilled life to its very essence. Often with encouragement from Frank, Giacometti offered up his ‘sculptural objects’ to adorn the homes of the kind of leading figures who need no introduction: Marie-Laure de Noailles, Elsa Schiaparelli, and François Mauriac. Ultimately the sculptor completed over fifty pieces, for the most part sculptural works displaying a powerful tension between their utilitarian and artistic dimensions. Their aesthetic takes inspiration from primitive objects, byzantine forms and ancient lines. Alberto Giacometti liked to work with raw materials, which he worked and shaped, all the while leaving their texture intact. Surfaces were left deliberately uneven with myriad little accidents visible to the naked eye – glimpses of his creative touch. The present vase, Infini, dated around 1935 and known until now only in a plaster version, takes its rightful place in this artistic output. Commissioned by Jean-Michel Frank, its bright green enamel stands in strong contrast with other, earlier vases finished in dull colours. Formal simplicity driven by true sophistication, the art of pared-back expression . . . These characteristics combine to make this sculptural object a model of elegance and beauty, created by one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century.”


Sotheby’s France
Arts Décoratifs du XXe siècle et Design / 20th Century Decorative Arts and Design

Sale Tuesday 25 November
Exhibition: 20, 21, 22 and 24 November