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421

Diego Giacometti

"Cerf et Renard" Console

Property from an Important American Collection

Diego Giacometti

Diego Giacometti

"Cerf et Renard" Console

"Cerf et Renard" Console

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Property from an Important American Collection

Diego Giacometti

"Cerf et Renard" Console


circa 1972

patinated bronze, original marble top

31½ x 48 x 20½ in. (80 x 121.9 x 52.1 cm)

Overall in very good condition. One of the very few consoles made by Diego Giacometti throughout his career, the present example also represents one of his most accomplished and sculptural works. Superbly proportioned, the console features on the central railing a stag as it walks toward a fox seated under a nearby tree. Adding to the sense of naturalism of the piece is the artist’s use of a beautiful and complex patina which, when viewed firsthand, presents with an overall dark russet brown coloration with hints of green throughout. The bronze surfaces are in excellent condition overall with very minor irregularities inherent to production and to the artist’s practice. The recessed areas with some extremely minimal soiling and oxidation, not visible unless closely inspected. The console retains its original marble top, which presents with superb veining and color ranging from dark and emerald green to Carrara white. The marble presents with some very fine hairlines inherent to the stone selection which appear stable, as well as occasional fine scratches and minute edge abrasions consistent with gentle use. This exceptional and rare work is further enhanced by its esteemed provenance and the intimate history that it tells of the Giacometti family, which distinguish the present “Cerf et Renard” Console as an incomparable masterpiece by the Swiss designer. A custom clear glass top will be provided to the buyer in addition to the original marble top.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Please note there is a guarantee and an irrevocable bid on this lot.
Executed by the artist for James Lord, circa 1972
Private Collection
Galerie L'Arc en Seine, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2010
Michel Butor and Jean Vincent, Diego Giacometti, Paris, 1985, p. 127
Daniel Marchesseau, Diego Giacometti, Paris, 1986, p. 92 (for the present lot illustrated)
Daniel Marchesseau, Diego GiacomettiSculpteur de Meubles, Paris, 2018, p. 119 (for the present lot illustrated)
American author James Lord first encountered Alberto Giacometti in a café in Paris 1952: “I sensed at once that the man before me was profoundly different from other people.” Born in New Jersey, Lord had made his way to Europe following three years of service in military intelligence during World War II. He settled in Paris where he entered the social scene of renowned artists including Giacometti and Pablo Picasso, whose lives he documented in attentive biographies written from firsthand experience. The first of these, A Giacometti Portrait, recounts the experience in 1964 when Alberto asked Lord to model for a portrait in his studio. In Lord’s words, “Nothing was easier than to fall into the habit of visiting him in his studio.” He sat for him for a total of eighteen days, witnessing the artist’s intensive creative process and resulting in one of his most well-known paintings.

At the time, Alberto’s younger brother Diego worked closely with him in the studio as an assistant and became equally well-acquainted with the writer. In addition to casting Alberto’s pieces, Diego had begun to develop his own oeuvre of sculpture and design, which Lord described as “some of the handsomest contemporary furniture.” A year after the book’s publication by the Museum of Modern Art, Alberto passed away. Lord spent the next two decades writing a fitting biography for the artist with the valued input and support of Diego, who helped the author “just as selflessly as he always helped Albert.” Lord’s preface acknowledges just how highly he thought of Diego, describing him as “a man whose nobility of spirit and indomitable forbearance were quite as legendary as his brother’s.”

The present “Cerf et Renard” Console, executed circa 1972 for Lord, is a profound testament to their friendship. Superbly proportioned, the console features a stag as it walks toward a fox seated under a nearby tree. Their attenuated bodies evoke a sense of motion and anticipation, exemplifying the designer’s keen ability to capture animal motifs from his bestiary. Giacometti enhanced the dynamism and texture of the scene with a beautifully nuanced patina, which is further complemented by its original richly veined marble top. Such a masterful example of Giacometti's bronze work would have surely been a treasured gift for Lord, and a letter from his son attests that he kept the console in his Paris apartment on the Rue des Beaux-Arts. The esteemed provenance and the intimate history it tells of the Giacometti family distinguish the present “Cerf et Renard” Console as an incomparable masterpiece by the Swiss designer.