Alberto Giacometti’s painted bronze ‘Chariot’, which was one of six that the Swiss artist created in the 1950s, is expected to sell for more than £60 million when it goes under the hammer at a Sotheby’s auction in New York next month. The work of art is a sculpture of a goddess riding a chariot, and a bust of a woman’s head upon which artist Modigliani used to light candles are both on display; the aforementioned artist’s limestone “Tete” (Head) was originally scavenged from a Metro construction site in Paris in the early 1900s. The Limestone piece is expected to fetch in excess of £28 million. Both works are the centrepieces of an exhibition put on show at Sotheby’s on Friday.
The exhibition at Sotheby’s London constitutes £500 million worth of art which is all up for sale; in the adjoining room to Giacometti’s ‘Chariot’ three paintings by Mark Rothko are on display and a Van Gogh “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies” is also present in the exhibition. In fact there are 450 works in atotal, selected as highlights from forthcoming sales; but the most expensive of all is Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Chariot’.
The exhibition is timed to coincide with London’s Frieze Art Fair where galleries from throughout the world show their art wares to the world’s top collectors, Sotheby’s are displaying works that will appear at several sales in months to come.
In 2010 a life-sized bronze “Walking Man” by Giacometti sold in London for £65 million, almost four times its pre-sale estimate.
“He’s one of those artists like painter Francis Bacon, who has been reappraised and with hindsight he is understood to have captured or represented a particular historical moment in the way that Andy Warhol represents the 1960s, Jeff Koons the 1980s, or Damien Hirst the early 2000s,” Simon Shaw, co-head of contemporary and modern art for Sotheby’s told Reuters.
Shaw stated that Giacometti was inspired by the Egyptian sculptures that he saw in the galleries of the Louvre in Paris, and the artist had created his goddess riding a chariot as an image of hope and renewal.
Modigliani’s ‘Tete’ is appearing at auction for the first time and is estimated to fetch over £28 million; two of the Rothko paintings are from the estate of the philanthropist and art collector Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon. Mellon died earlier this year at the remarkable age of 103; she was one of the world’s richest women, and left over 2,000 items to be auctioned from the Mellon collection which also encompasses jewellery, furniture, porcelain and silver.