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Alberto Giacometti

Giacometti Association consigns sculptures and illustrated book to Christie's for auction as legal fees mount

The estate was bequeathed to the Giacometti Association as a temporary measure to clear the way for a foundation, although these plans were derailed by Roland Dumas's misconduct

Another chapter in the seemingly never-ending saga of the Giacometti Association, which is embroiled in costly lawsuits, will be written in Paris this autumn. Hit by rising legal fees, insurance and storage costs, the association has asked Christie’s to sell 38 sculptures and a book illustrated by the artist. They are expected to fetch between E4.5 million and E6 million (£2.7/$3.8million-£3.6/$5 million). Among the pieces on offer are a Cubist work, a portrait of Marie-Laure de Noailles, and a “Man in cage” which is estimated at E700,000 (£427,000/ $597,000). All are posthumous casts.

Alberto Giacometti died in 1966, and on her death in 1994 his widow Annette left her collection, worth a cool E600 million (£36/$50 million) to a Giacometti Association, which was supposed to give birth to a Giacometti Foundation (see the Art Newspaper, No.122, February 2001, p.34). She also left premises in Paris and a lump sum to cover expenses, and appointed the now disgraced lawyer and one-time minister Roland Dumas as executor.

He appointed a receiver, Maître Da Camara, to look after the association. When she took over in 1999, she announced she would sort everything out in double-quick time. This was not to be: the foundation has still not seen the light of day and now, further bedevilling the question, are the claims of Annette’s brother and sister-in law, who want the association to be dissolved and the collection returned to them.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Christie’s to sell more pieces from the estate as legal bills rise'