Lot 15
  • 15

Alberto Giacometti

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
1,690,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alberto Giacometti
  • Tête sur socle (dite Tête sans crane)
  • Signed Alberto Giacometti, numbered 3/6, and stamped with the foundry mark Susse Fondeur Paris (on base)
  • Bronze
  • Height: 17 1/8 in.
  • 44 cm


Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist in April 1965)

Private Collection, Sweden (acquired from the above)

Thence by descent to the present owner


Yves Bonnefoy, Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1991, no. 392, illustration of another cast p. 411

Ernst Scheidegger, Alberto Giacometti, Sculpture in Plaster, Zurich, 2006, illustration of plaster version p. 87

The Studio of Alberto Giacometti, Collection of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti (exhibition catalogue), Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2007, illustration of another cast in an installation photograph p. 348

Silvio Berthoud, Donat Rütimann, Thierry Dufrêne & Nadia Schneider, Alberto Giacometti, Geneva, 2009, illustration of another cast p. 183

Markus Brüderlin & Toni Stooss, Alberto Giacometti, The Origin of Space, Salzburg, 2010, illustration of another cast p. 167

Catalogue Note

The model for this sculpture was Giacometti's younger brother Diego, who played a central role in the artist's personal and professional life. Diego devoted a major part of his own artistic career to assisting Alberto with his sculpture and supervising the casting of his bronzes. By the early 1950s, Alberto had gained considerable critical recognition in Paris and had amassed a broad clientele, while Diego had just begun to design the bronze furniture which would finally make him famous in his own right. Well aware of his younger brother's talent, Alberto encouraged Diego to pursue his own career. Nevertheless, Alberto relied heavily upon his brother's expertise and recognized him as indispensable in the production of the numerous innovative sculptures.  The present work from 1958 provides one of Alberto's more radicalized portrayals of his brother's features, calling attention to the complexity of the human psyche and the transfixing, psychological power of the younger man's gaze.


Discussing the sculptures executed during this period, Yves Bonnefoy wrote: "These sculpted faces compel one to face them as if one were speaking to the person, meeting his eyes and thereby understanding better the compression, the narrowing that Giacometti imposed on the chin or the nose or the general shape of the skull. This was the period when Giacometti was most strongly conscious of the fact that the inside of the plaster or clay mass which he modelled was something inert, undifferentiated, nocturnal, that it betrays the life he sought to represent, and that he must therefore strive to eliminate this purely spatial dimension by constricting the material to fit the most prominent characteristics of the face. This is exactly what he achieves with amazing vigour when, occasionally, he gave Diego's face a blade-like narrowness - drawing seems to have eliminated the plaster, the head has escaped from space - and demands therefore that the spectator stand in front of the sculpture as he did himself, disregarding the back and sides of his model and as bound to a face-to-face relationship" (Y. Bonnefoy, Alberto Giacometti, A Biography of his Work, Paris, 1991, p. 432).