Lot 4
  • 4

Germaine Richier

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
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  • Germaine Richier
  • Le Grain
  • Inscribed with the signature G. Richier, numbered 6/6, and stamped with the foundry mark C. Valsuani Cire Perdue
  • Bronze
  • Height: 57 in.
  • 144.8 cm


Galerie Hervé Odermatt, Paris

Joseph Katz, Pittsburgh (acquired from the above in March 1972)

Thence by descent 


Denys Chevalier, "Un Grand Sculpteur: Germaine Richier" in Prestige Francais et Mondanités, Paris, September, 1956, illustration of another cast p. 60

Barbara Butler, "Paris" in Arts, New York, December, 1956, no. 31, illustration of another cast pp. 14-16

Paul Guth, Encounter with Germaine RichierYale French Studies, 1957-58, no. 19-20, illustration of another cast pp. 78-84

Enrico Crispolti, "Germaine Richier" in I maestri della scultura, Milan, 1968, no. 65, illustration of another cast pp. 50-52

Michel Conil-Lacoste, "Richier" in Nouveau dictionnaire de la sculpture moderne, Paris, 1970, illustration of another cast pp. 262-64

Ionel Jianou, Gérard Xurigura & Aube Lardera, "Germaine Richier" in La Sculpture moderne, Paris, 1982, illustration of another cast p. 178

Elisabeth Lebovici, "L'atelier de Germaine Richier vu par Pierre-Olivier Deschamps" in Beaux-Arts Magazine, Paris, November 1989, no. 73, illustration of another cast pp. 94-99

Valerie J. Fletcher, Germaine Richier, A Garden for Art - Outdoor Sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum, 1998, illustration of another cast p. 53

Germaine RichierSculpture 1934-1959 (exhibition catalogue), Dominique Lévy & Galerie Perrotin, New York, 2014, illustration of another cast in color pp. 106-07

Catalogue Note

Conceived in 1955, Le Grain epitomizes Germaine Richier’s existentialist sculpture from the post-war era. A remarkable manifestation of humankind’s capacities and instincts for survival, resilience, and redemption, Le Grain calls to mind the work of Alberto Giacometti. Richier’s similarities with Giacometti are discussed in the exhibition catalogue for her retrospective at the Kunst Museum Bern, “Germaine Richier is heiress to the figurative tradition in sculpture, which she studied intensively as a private pupil of Émile-Antoine Bourdelle in Paris. She pursued, however, a very independent and extremely diversified artistic path, making it difficult still today to classify her work as belonging to a specific style or movement. Her art is associated with the tenets of existentialist philosophy just like Alberto Giacometti’s art, who studied together with her at Bourdelle’s studio. Indeed, on closer scrutiny, the existential nature of her artworks is apparent in the torn and fissured figures, whose blatant insecurity is inscribed with a wired tension into their very beings” (quoted in Germaine Richier – Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Kunst Museum, Bern, 2014, p. 15). 

The present work is numbered 6/6 from an original edition of eleven bronzes numbered 1/6 to 6/6, HC1, HC2, HC3, EA, 0/6. Other versions from this edition reside in the permanent collections of institutions including Musée Picasso, Antibes, Smart Museum of Art at The University of Chicago and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.