Life-size Giacometti bronze goes under the hammer

Fri Jan 8, 2010 10:28am EST
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Sotheby's auction house said on Friday it plans to sell one of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti's rare, life-sized bronzes next month.

The February 3 sale of "L'Homme qui marche I" will mark the first time a Giacometti figure of a walking man of this size has come to auction in over 20 years, Sotheby's said.

It has given the work -- cast in 1961 -- an estimated sale price of over 12 million pounds ($19 million). The record for a Giacometti bronze was set at $27.4 million in May 2008 for a life-sized sculpture of a woman entitled "Grande femme debout II."

The auction firm said the bronze was being sold by German banking firm Commerzbank AG, which acquired it when it took over Dresdner Bank in 2009. Dresdner acquired the sculpture in 1980.

"We are delighted to have the rare opportunity to offer a monumental and lifetime cast of this iconic work," Co-Chairman of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide Helena Newman said in a statement.

The work will be one of the centerpieces of Sotheby's forthcoming Evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art.

"We obtained a well-known corporate collection of modern and contemporary art when we acquired Dresdner Bank," Commerzbank CEO Martin Blessing said.

"We have now decided to allocate outstanding artworks to German museums and have selected one of the most valuable works in the collection for sale in London in February."   Continued...