Lot 42
  • 42

Alberto Giacometti

700,000 - 1,000,000 GBP
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  • Alberto Giacometti
  • Femme debout sans bras
  • inscribed A. Giacometti, numbered 5/6 and with the foundry mark Susse Fondr Paris; numbered 5/6 on the underside
  • bronze
  • height: 32cm.
  • 12 5/8 in.


Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist in 1958)

Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in 1967


Jacques Dupin, Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1962, another cast illustrated p. 281 (titled Figurine)

Palma Bucarelli, Giacometti, Rome, 1962, no. 64, another cast illustrated (titled Figurina (senza braccia) and as dating from 1954-55)

Yves Bonnefoy, Alberto Giacometti: A Biography of his Work, Paris, 1991, no. 389, illustration of another cast p. 408 (titled Figurine (without Arms) and as dating from 1956)

Catalogue Note

Femme debout sans bras is an elegant example of one of the most important motifs of Giacometti's art - the standing female figure. Throughout the 1940s and up until his death in 1966, Giacometti created several variations on the theme of a lone nude woman, her long, lean body anchored with heavy block feet to a base and frozen in time. In its many sculptural incarnations, this image exemplifies the power with which Giacometti imbued the human form. With its multiple and conflicting thematic connotations of stoicism, resilience, passivity, strength and vulnerability, it embodies the Existentialist concerns of many artists and intellectuals working in post-war Paris.

Dating from 1956, Femme debout sans bras was created around the same time as the series of Giacometti's acclaimed Femmes de Venise, which made their debut at the Venice Biennale in 1956. After his success at the Biennale, Giacometti continued to develop the theme of standing female figures, elongating and accentuating the woman’s body and challenging the limits of the malleability and manipulation of his bronze figures. His exploration of this theme culminated in 1960 with his Grandes femmes, which were intended as part of a project for Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City. In the present sculpture, created without arms and with the body and head highly stylised, Giacometti offers his vision of the essence of a female figure - not in a naturalistic, descriptive manner, but as a form occupying space, as a presence in our space and in our perception.

According to the Comité Giacometti, an edition of six bronzes of this work was cast from 1956 to 1958 by the Susse Foundry. The plaster version is in the collection of the Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung in Zurich.