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44

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED NEW YORK COLLECTION

Alberto Giacometti
AN IMPORTANT AND RARE PAIR OF ANDIRONS
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT
44

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED NEW YORK COLLECTION

Alberto Giacometti
AN IMPORTANT AND RARE PAIR OF ANDIRONS
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Design

|
New York

Alberto Giacometti
AN IMPORTANT AND RARE PAIR OF ANDIRONS
gilt bronze, wrought-iron
one: 11 1/4  in. (28.5 cm) high
the other: 11 1/8  in. (28.2 cm) high
circa 1938
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Private Collection, Nice, France
Sotheby's Monaco, June 25, 1981, lot 260
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Ignacio Pirovano, "El Mueble de 1840 a 1940," Saber Vivir, no. 45, July 1944, p. 28 (for a period photograph of the model in situ in the smoking room of the Jorge Born residence, Buenos Aires, designed by Jean-Michel Frank)
Christian Boutonnet and Rafael Ortiz, Diego Giacometti, Paris, 2003, p. 32
Ghislaine Wood, ed., Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design, London, 2007, p. 200, fig. 11.11 (for the above mentioned period photograph of the Born residence interior)
Pierre-Emmanuel Martin Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute Monde in the Art Deco Period, New York, 2008, p. 94 (for a period photograph of the model in situ in the smoking room of Jean-Michel Frank’s apartment, Paris)
James Buresh, Jean-Michel Frank in Argentina, New York, 2010, p. 23 (for the above mentioned period photograph of the Born residence interior)

Catalogue Note


The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Comité Giacometti and it is recorded in the Alberto Giacometti database under number AGD4096.



The present pair of andirons reflects the creative partnership between the artist Alberto Giacometti and the esteemed French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank. Frank first encountered the work of Giacometti at the 1928 Salon des Indépendants in Paris. Intrigued by the simplicity of form reflected in Giacometti’s plaster creations, Frank began commissioning the artist to produce lighting and fireplace designs. Frank integrated these works into some of the period’s most iconic interiors which he created for his high society clientele, including Elsa Schiaparelli and Nelson Rockefeller. The present andiron model adorned the Buenos Aires residence of Jorge Born, an affluent Argentinian businessman, as well as Jean-Michel Frank’s own Parisian apartment. The collaboration also involved Alberto’s brother, Diego Giacometti, who assisted in the production of the decorative elements. As Alberto designed the models, Diego worked on preparing the molds and polishing the bronze. The present pair of andirons offers a unique insight into the very personal, collaborative relationship of the Giacometti brothers.

Covered with a rich gold patina, these rare andirons not only serve a functional purpose, they belong also to the artist’s sculptural body of work. The columnar silhouette of the andirons resembles Giacometti’s sculptures from the early 1930s. Taking inspiration from everyday objects of ancient Egyptian and Cycladic civilizations, Giacometti consciously emphasized the irregular lines and coarse surfaces of the form. Such mindful execution undertaken by Giacometti brings out the rawness of form and authenticity of material, like hand-forged slabs of clay. The present andirons are thus distinguished by both the sensitivity of their production and by their powerful, modernist form. When placed alongside Jean-Michel Frank’s sophisticated furniture designs, the design of these minimalistic andirons produces a uniquely balanced visual aesthetic.

Sotheby’s Important Design sale marks a significant moment in the history of the present Giacometti andirons, as this is the first time the model has appeared on the market since it was sold at Sotheby’s Monaco in 1981, and the only pair presently known to appear at auction.

Important Design

|
New York