Alberto Giacometti - Design New York Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Alberto Giacometti’s Figure floor lamp was an early triumph in the artist’s career. Standing at five feet tall, the anthropomorphized lamp base is as elegant as it is beguiling. For this model, Giacometti sculpted a delicate and miniature bust of a woman, recalling the caryatids of ancient Greek architecture. The graceful curves of the lamp base and its elongated form attest to Giacometti’s virtuosity; the Figure model has justly earned a place amongst his most exemplary works.


    The present model floor lamp in the Chanaux atelier, circa 1935. Artwork: © 2021 Alberto Giacometti Estate / VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris.

    Giacometti designed the Figure lamp in 1933 for French furniture and interior designer Jean-Michel Frank. In addition to Giacometti, Frank’s milieu was comprised of such visionaries as Louis Aragon, Salvador Dalí, René Crevel, and Léon Pierre-Quint. His clientele was equally formidable, including Elsa Schiaparelli, Charles and Marie-Laure Noailles, and Nelson Rockefeller, amongst others. The Figure lamp elicits these surrealist influences, as Giacometti draws upon the fragmented head, apparent personal iconography that invites viewers to interpret the work themselves. During the 1930s and ‘40s, Giacometti designed a number of utilitarian and highly sculptural objects for Frank and his clients. Seeking to create interiors that celebrated the “luxury of nothing,” Frank commissioned only works of design he deemed necessary to an interior. The present example was cast by Diego Giacometti, Alberto’s brother, in the 1960s and acquired from Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York.

    • Provenance

      Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
      Ann Norry, Rochester, New York, acquired from the above, 1980
      Thence by descent to the present owner, 1997

    • Literature

      Waldemar George, "Jean Michel Frank," Art et Décoration, no. 3, 1936, p. 98
      Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1980, pp. 107, 204
      Michel Butor, Diego Giacometti, Paris, 1985, p. 125
      Daniel Marchesseau, Diego Giacometti, Paris, 1986, p. 11
      Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period, New York, 2012, pp. 68, 143, 198, 250

    • Catalogue Essay

      The present lot is registered by the Fondation Alberto and Annette Giacometti in the online Alberto Giacometti Database (AGD) under the number AGD 4342.

Property from a Private Collection, New York


"Figure" floor lamp

designed circa 1933, later cast
Patinated bronze, paper shade.
Height of cast: 61 3/4 in. (156.8 cm)
Cast by Diego Giacometti, Paris. Underside impressed FIGURE and base impressed AG and 064 by the Comité Giacometti. Together with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Giacometti.

Full Cataloguing

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $403,200

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New York Auction 7 December 2021