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Alberto Giacometti

Judge orders smashing of Giacometti plaster models

Founder of unauthorised casts sentenced to ten years

The appeal court in Besançon has confirmed the sentence pased in March 1992 relating to the unauthorised casting of bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti. Jacques Redoutey, owner of the foundry in Port-sur-Saône (Giacometti was one of his clients) has been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment and the payment of a fine. His son, Bruno, manager of the firm France Bronze, escaped lightly with only eight months and a suspended sentence.

The judge ordered that all the plaster models remaining in the workshop should be destroyed. In Paris, a public declaration by Catherine Trautmann, the French Minister of Culture, may clear the impasse in which the Fondation Giacometti finds itself. At a conference on contemporary art held in Tours last December, Mme Trautmann assured those present that nothing stood in the way of the project, first presented ten years ago by the association named after the sculptor and his widow, Annette.

Madame Giacometti’s will declares that all the work left by her husband is to be used to form a foundation. If this does not happen, the inheritance reverts to Switzerland where the artist was born, to Bruno Giacometti, his brother.

Matters were complicated by the prevarication of Mme Trautmann’s predecessor, Philippe Douste-Blazy, and that of the Direction des Musées de France and the Centre Pompidou, who feared that the works of art might be alienated, as happened in the case of the Vasarely and Arp foundations.

Members of the Giacometti association, however, claimed that the government was hoping to get 45% of the works in lieu of the inheritance tax eventually payable by Bruno Giacometti. Mme Trautmann suggested that progress might now be rapid. Roland Dumas, Annette Giacometti’s executor and president of the association, declares himself ready to examine the inventories, balance sheets and accounts as and when necessary.