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Giacometti lamp tops million-franc mark in Geneva auction

Alberto Giacometti is most famous for his sculptures. Several shown here from an exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel in 2018. Keystone

A “Tête de femme” floor lamp by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) topped the million-franc mark at a Piguet auction in Geneva on Thursday evening. This represents five times the estimated price of the object.

The sculpture was unprecedented on the art market wrote Piguet in a press release on Friday. It sets a world record for an Alberto Giacometti “Tête de femme” floor lamp.

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This sculpture was made between 1933 and 1939. Unlike the other version of this lamp, more common on the market and produced later, with castings until the 1980s, the one sold in Geneva on Thursday evening features a narrow base and an elongated shaft.

+ Rediscovering the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti

The Piguet team discovered correspondence between Alberto Giacometti and Henry-Louis Mermod from 1933 to 1934, evoking the commissioning of the floor lamp for the latter directly in the artist’s Paris studio in 1933. These letters between the current owner’s grandfather and Giacometti give the work an “exceptional traceability, which de facto increases its rarity and value”, the press release goes on to say.

Adapted from French by DeepL/jdp

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