Private Eye #5 selected highlights from our Private Sales

Private Eye #5: selected highlights from our Private Sales

Hongmiao Shi gets the specialists’ views on a Dentelle necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels and works by Lichtenstein, Giacometti and Lalanne — all available for immediate purchase

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  • Lichtenstein’s Stardust melody Reverie, from 11 Pop Artists, Volume II, 1965

Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Reverie, from 11 Pop Artists, Volume II, 1965. From the edition of 200, 30⅛ x 24 in (765 x 609 mm). Price on request. View Prints and Multiples currently offered for private sale at Christie’s
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Reverie, from 11 Pop Artists, Volume II, 1965. From the edition of 200, 30⅛ x 24 in (765 x 609 mm). Price on request. View Prints and Multiples currently offered for private sale at Christie’s

Created in 1965, Reverie  was one of Roy Lichtenstein’s first prints and incorporates familiar motifs: a comic-book heroine, Ben-Day dots, and bold, flat colours. The work is considered an ode to nostalgia, with a lovelorn chanteuse singing lyrics from Stardust, the ballad composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael and popularised by Nat King Cole in the 1950s.

The print was included in 11 Pop Artists, Volume II, a three-volume portfolio that also featured works by Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist and Mel Ramos

‘Lichtenstein was involved from start to finish in creating Reverie,’ says Lisa Machi, Prints specialist in New York. ‘First, he made a coloured-pencil drawing from the original comic panel. Then he created a large-scale, black-and-white drawing in which he perfected the composition. Finally, he supervised the printing of his design in four colours. As an important, early work by the artist, Reverie  is one of Lichtenstein’s best-known images and a highly desirable work.’

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  • Alberto Giacometti’s doors to the afterlife Template plasters for a double door, c. 1954

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), Template plasters for a pair of doors, c. 1954. Plaster, each panel 87 x 33⅝ x 2¼ in (221 x 85.5 x 6 cm). Estimate on request. View Impressionist and Modern Art currently offered for private sale at Christie’s

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), Template plasters for a pair of doors, c. 1954. Plaster, each panel: 87 x 33⅝ x 2¼ in (221 x 85.5 x 6 cm). Estimate on request. View Impressionist and Modern Art currently offered for private sale at Christie’s

If you were to wander through the woods by Fallingwater, the architectural masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright in rural Pennsylvania, you might be surprised to stumble across a large bronze artwork by Alberto Giacometti. Completed in 1954, it was conceived as a pair of doors for the nearby mausoleum of Fallingwater’s first owners, Edgar J. and Liliane Kaufmann, who died in 1955 and 1952, respectively. 

These monumental plaster panels were created in the process of casting the Fallingwater bronzes, and were made from designs sculpted by Giacometti one year earlier. As Kaufmann’s son, Edgar Kaufmann Jr., commissioned the works especially for Fallingwater, they are almost unique in Giacometti’s output. 

‘It is very rare to see such large-scale plaster casts on the market,’ says Pierre Martin-Vivier, Vice President of Christie’s Paris. ‘The level of detail and personal touch to them is extraordinary.’

The panels combine two of Giacometti’s most iconic subjects, the seated and standing human figures. The two figures stand beneath towering trees, representing Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann reuniting within nature, moving beyond death into new life.

‘They are remarkable and important works in Giacometti’s oeuvre,’ says Martin-Vivier, ‘created in his characteristically poetic, weightless and visionary sensibility.’

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  • A late design by François-Xavier Lalanne Capricorne III, 2007

François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008), Capricorne III, 2007. Patinated bronze, 26¾ in (68 cm) high; 49⅜ in (125.3 cm) wide; 11¾ in (30 cm) deep. Artist’s proof 2 from an edition of four artist’s proofs and eight editions. Price on request. View Design currently offered for private sale at Christie’s
François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008), Capricorne III, 2007. Patinated bronze, 26¾ in (68 cm) high; 49⅜ in (125.3 cm) wide; 11¾ in (30 cm) deep. Artist’s proof 2 from an edition of four artist’s proofs and eight editions. Price on request. View Design currently offered for private sale at Christie’s

Throughout his career, François-Xavier Lalanne had a strong desire to remove the distinction between sculpture and functional objects. He famously transformed sheep into woolly stools, monkeys into cabinets and hippos into bathtubs. Capricorne III  is a rare, late work that typifies this ambition.

Capricorne III  was made in the last years of Lalanne’s life, which makes it an important and desirable piece within the trajectory of the artist’s career,’ says Emily FitzGerald, Design specialist in New York. ‘There are four Capricorne  models and all have heads pointing in different directions, but I think this particular model — with its head turned to the side — is the most dynamic and engaging. The work is equally enticing as a strong, standalone object, or as a perch to sit on.’

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  • A couture necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond ‘Dentelle’ necklace


Diamond Dentelle necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels. White gold. Diamonds approximately 45.00-50.00 carats total weight. Price on request. View Jewellery currently offered for private sale at Christie’s

Diamond Dentelle necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels. White gold. Diamonds approximately 45.00-50.00 carats total weight. Price on request. View Jewellery currently offered for private sale at Christie’s

‘Dentelle  means lace in French, and this necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels was designed to be draped around your neck like a piece of fabric,’ says Mei Y. Giam, head of private sales in London’s Jewellery department.


The necklace comes from Van Cleef & Arpels’ couture collection from the 2000s, but its inspiration stems from much earlier. ‘In 1939, the house produced a Clip Noeud Dentelle — a gold lace bow brooch embellished with diamond-set flower motifs. Another inspiration was Dior’s New Look from 1947, which sparked a renewed interest in luxurious fabrics across European fashion houses and designers. Textures like herringbone, jersey and tulle were meticulously recreated in gold, as were lace, tassels, chords and other trims, in countless different combinations.

‘We occasionally see Dentelle designs on the secondary market but they’re usually smaller, simpler designs,’ Giam adds. ‘It is rare to see a necklace as large and important as this one.’