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Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Property from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Sold to Benefit the Nasher Sculpture Center Christie's is honored to present a diverse group of furniture by Alberto and Diego Giacometti from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection. For the Nashers, collecting art was always a labor of love. It began with a simple desire to surround their family with beautiful, meaningful objects and to share them with others. Their appreciation for three-dimensional forms inspired them to ship, install and care for sculpture at a time when most art collectors limited their attention to paintings. The Nashers treasured the privilege of living with and acting as custodians of great works of art. As Patsy often said, "We didn't collect the art. The art collected us." This sensibility culminated in the opening of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas in 2003, an exemplary platform for modern and contemporary sculpture in a building designed by Renzo Piano and surrounded by serene gardens. Most of the great masters of modern sculpture are represented in the Nasher Collection, including a comprehensive selection of thirteen works by Alberto Giacometti. The Sculpture Center houses bronzes conceived by the artist in the 1920s, a wonderful marble Tête cubiste (1934), numerous bronzes from the 1950s, including four works depicting his younger brother Diego, and both Femme de Venise III and Femme de Venise IV. Patsy and Raymond first saw three busts of Diego, at an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1979. The Nashers followed the exhibition to Monterrey to pursue the sculptures and were finally able to negotiate with the Maeght Foundation, which owned the Giacometti pieces, to obtain the busts. They then initiated a long friendship with Diego, an accomplished sculptor and furniture maker in his own right, and purchased several pieces of furniture from him. Patsy recalled that she "was overwhelmed to meet [Diego]" when they were first introduced. Despite the language barrier, Diego eventually became a friend of the Nashers. Bringing gifts of wine to Diego when they were in Paris, the Nashers visited him at his home next door to the studio where he built his furniture. Diego reportedly worked in part from an "order book" in which he recorded the requests for particular pieces that came to him from his many visitors. As the artist was notorious for slow and, in some cases, non-delivery, the Nashers insisted on buying directly from Diego and immediately taking their newest treasures in a cab or hired car. In addition to these frequent visits, Patsy asked to be kept in mind for any new works they might like, a request Diego honored and one which he accorded to few of his clients. In 1929, Man Ray introduced Alberto Giacometti to the interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, who would shortly open up shop with Adolphe Chanaux, and with whom the Giacomettis would collaborate from 1933 until the Second World War, creating an impressive range of home fixtures. According to Daniel Marchesseau: "they mainly created bases and andirons and also worked on models for wall sconces, floor lamps, and desk lamps...If Alberto contributed fantasy and exuberance to creations made for Frank, Diego gave them fullness and solidity. His sense of volumes and geometry would later assert itself in authoritative fashion" (Diego Giacometti, Paris, 1986, pp. 32-33). Their collaboration would prove exceptionally fruitful--the objects they created have been justly celebrated and their work gave much needed purpose to Diego's life, which had previously been devoted to "hanging around disreputable bars and taking part in shady escapades" (J. Lord, Giacometti, A Biography, New York, 1997, p. 122). With the encouragement of his brother, in the early 1950s, Diego began to create the furniture for which he would become famous. Yet it was only after Alberto's death that he felt free to express his own creativity, which was perceptible in the works created by the two artists for Jean-Michel Frank. Diego considered himself an artisan whose only goal was to create beautiful and useful objects. His friends and assistants spoke of his regard for exactitude and his desire that the works be practical, but also of his ceaseless creativity. The work of Diego constitutes a universe full of dreams and poetry. His creations merge the worlds of sculpture and furniture design into one remarkable whole. His exquisitely designed and carefully crafted bronze tables, chairs, fire screens and other functional objects are brought to life by the artist's unique imagination, his sense of proportion and his profound love of nature and the animal world. In contrast to Alberto who never ceased experimenting with his perceptions of the human form, Diego's world was rooted in nature. In keeping with the delicacy and subtlety of his designs, his animals are often small--mice, bats, birds, owls, frogs and lizards; in fact, apart from the occasional horse, stag, ostrich or lion, it is rare to find anything larger than domestic pets. Diego's sensitivity to nature is exemplified by the beautiful Guéridon: arbre au hibou (lot 355) in the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection where an owl perches on a small protrusion below elegantly shaped leafy branches. The following eleven lots (351-361) are being offered from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection sold to benefit the Nasher Sculpture Garden. Property from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Sold to Benefit the Nasher Sculpture Center
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)

Lampe modèle (tête)

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
Lampe modèle (tête)
signed 'Alberto Giacometti' (on the back of the base)
bronze with brown and green patina; wired for electricity
Height: 19¾ in. (50.2 cm.)
Conceived by Alberto Giacometti for Jean-Michel Frank circa 1937; this bronze version cast by Diego Giacometti in 1981
Acquired from Diego Giacometti by the late owners, September 1981.
M. Butor, Diego Giacometti, Paris, 1985, p. 59 (other casts
F. Francisci, Diego Giacometti, Catalogue de l'oeuvre, Paris, 1986, vol. I, p. 115 (another cast illustrated, pp. 26-27).
D. Marchesseau, Diego Giacometti, New York, 1986, p. 35 (another cast illustrated).
L.D. Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Adolphe Chanaux, Paris, 1997, pp. 239 and 244 (plaster version illustrated, pp. 238 and 244; titled Lampe en staff, à tête de femme and dated 1936).
P.-E. Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank, L'étrange luxe du rien, Paris, 2006, p. 323 (plaster version illustrated).
The Alberto Giacometti Database, no. 1775.
Sale Room Notice
Please note this work is included in The Alberto Giacometti Database under the number 1775.

Lot Essay

Conceived shortly before Alberto and Diego Giacometti's collaboration with Jean-Michel Frank was cut short by the Second World War in 1939, the present and following table lamp exist also in an elongated variant (see lot 361).

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