Lot 69
  • 69

Alberto Giacometti

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alberto Giacometti
  • Coin d'atelier avec poële et balai
  • Signed Alberto Giacometti and dated 1961 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 36 by 28 1/2 in.
  • 91.5 by 72.5 cm.


Galerie Maeght, Paris

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris (acquired from the above)

Joseph H. Hirshhorn, New York (acquired from the above in March 1962)

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (a gift from the above in May 1966 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, 12, May 1993, lot 327)

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Christie's, New York, 2, May 2006, lot 47)

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 25, 2008, lot 47)

Acquired at the above sale


Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Inaugural Exhibition, 1974-75


Abram Lerner et al., The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, New York, 1974, illustrated pl. 960

Tamara S. Evans (ed.), Alberto Giacometti and America, New York, 1984, p. 104

Bernard Lamarche-Vadel, Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1984, no. 150, illustrated p. 106 (titled L'Atelier and with incorrect measurements)

Catalogue Note

Like many artists before him, Alberto Giacometti frequently turned to his own creative environment for the subject of his paintings. Bearing the traces of his movements, practices and ideas, the studio is an embodiment of the artist's own persona and artistic instinct; it is the one place in which he and his work are united. Coin d'atelier, therefore, is highly introspective. Giacometti captures the very evidence of his own existence - he presents, in effect, a self portrait, which complements the numerous portraits he executed of Annette, Diego and Caroline around the same time. As with many of his contemporaneous works, the composition has been framed within the edges of the canvas by a painted border, as if cropped and pasted like a photograph. It invites comparison with the many photographs that were taken of the artist's studio during his lifetime.


At the same time, the present work is concerned with the act of painting itself, and not with the specificity of objects within the composition. The apparently ordinary subject matter masks an obsession with the relativity of form, contour and space – a problem which vexed Cézanne in each of his still lives. Giacometti is not preoccupied with color, the rendering of volume or the play of light. All detail is inconsequential. Rather, the minimal palette allows the artist to focus entirely on the vertiginous relationship between form and space, one which affects a distinct sense of claustrophobia. Giacometti's perception of space anguished him during this period. Alluding to the complexity which distinguishes his post-war paintings, he confessed "I had begun to see heads in the void, in the space that surrounded them" (quoted in Michael Peppiatt, Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris, New Haven & London, 2001, p. 7).