Auctions Market USA

Giacometti portraits go head to head at New York auctions

Christie’s announces sale of a painting of the artist’s brother just a week after rival Sotheby’s reveals sculpture will headline its Impressionist and Modern art evening sale

Alberto Giacometti, Diego en chemise écossaise, 1954 (est $30m-$50m). Photo: © 2013 Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York

A battle of the Giacomettis is due to take place in New York next month. The painting Diego en chemise écossaise, 1954, by Alberto Giacometti (est $30m-$50m) is expected to be the top lot at Christie’s Modern and Impressionist evening sale in New York on 5 November. The announcement comes just one week after rival Sotheby’s announced that the artist’s sculpture Grande tête de Diego, 1954, would headline its evening sale on 6 November (est $35m-$50m).

Backed by a third-party guarantee, Christie’s Giacometti is poised to break the record for a painting by the artist at auction. (The previous record, $14.6m including fees, was set at Sotheby’s in 2008.) Once owned by Giacometti’s European dealer Aimé Maeght, the portrait has been in a New York private collection for the past two decades, according to published records. It has never appeared at auction, but has been shown at museums including the Fondation Beyeler and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“Although Diego was Alberto Giacometti’s most frequent sitter—serving almost as an alter ego for the artist—never before did he depict him with quite the same energy or fervor as he did in this work,” says Andreas Rumbler, the deputy chairman of Impressionist and Modern art at Christie’s, in a statement.

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