Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)

Femme debout no. 7

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Femme debout no. 7
signed and numbered 'Alberto Giacometti 4/6' (on the top of the base); inscribed with foundry mark 'Susse Fondeur Paris' (on the back of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 9 5/8 in. (24.7 cm.)
Conceived in 1955; this bronze version cast in 1957
Galerie Maeght, Paris.
Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris.
Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles.
Anon. sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 18 November 1964, lot 32.
Collector's Art Gallery.
Galerie Schreiner, Basel.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner, 1975.
B. Lamarche-Vadel, Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1984, p. 140, no. 201 (another cast illustrated in color).
The Alberto Giacometti Database, no. 2938.
The Alberto and Annette Giacometti Association Database, no. S-2014-7.
Duisburg, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Das Bild der Frau in der Plastik des 20. Jahrhunderts, May-June 1986, pp. 126 and 182, no. 31 (illustrated, p. 127).

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David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan

Lot Essay

With its textured, fanatically-worked surface, Alberto Giacometti's Femme debout no. 7 perfectly conveys the energy that underpinned the process by which he created his sculptures. In this work, which was conceived in 1955, Giacometti has shown the figure of a woman; some of the features have retained the sense of flesh and roundness that had been reintroduced to his sculptures around 1953, when he had returned to working from live models. That sense of observed reality is present in Femme debout no. 7, not least in the cascade of hair, which recalls that of Giacometti's depictions of his wife Annette.
In the mid-1950s, Giacometti sometimes returned to the elongated style of figure that he had created in the years immediately after the Second World War, in which he had pared away the material until it revealed some raw, underlying, essential quality; however, as here, he now remained anchored in observed reality, lending his works a more visceral quality. This is heightened in Femme debout no. 7 by the surface itself, which is indicative of Giacometti's own efforts in creating the figure. This resulted in the almost gnarled appearance of the surface in sculptures such as Femme debout no. 7, which doubtlessly helped prompt the words of his friend, the author Jean Genet, who wrote only a few years after this sculpture was conceived: "His statues seem to belong to a bygone age, to have been discovered after night and time—who fashioned them cleverly—had corroded them to give this feeling, at once soft and hard, of eternity passing. Or perhaps, they emerged from a crucible, the residue of terrible heat: the flames extinguished, that is what remains. But what flames!" (quoted in B. Lamarche-Vadel, Alberto Giacometti, Old Saybrook, 1989, p. 102).
The sense that Femme debout no. 7 recalls the sculptures of some impossible antiquity is heightened by the fact that Giacometti has decided to complete the work without including arms, placing it in the great tradition of fragmentary relics like the Venus de Milo or the works of Aristide Maillol, which themselves often harked back to the past. The sculpture has the same hieratic presence as those traces of ancient times; Giacometti himself often looked to antiquity for inspiration, on numerous occasions stating his great admiration for the art of the Egyptians. Indeed, Femme debout no. 7 appears to recall the "shabti" figurines that were discovered in Egyptian burials, not least because of its rigid, vertical stature. Giacometti almost always sculpted his women standing, rooted to the ground, while his men were often striding; in Femme debout no. 7, that static quality adds to the sense of the arcane, of the timeless, of the existential.

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