Femme nue et cavalier dans un paysage

Alberto Giacometti viewed plaster as evocative and pliant material highly effective in communicating his sculptural ideal. For many sculptors, plaster was simply a step in the process of the lost wax cast method. Yet, in the hands of Giacometti, it is a celebrated medium that relays a unique softness and a serene sense of movement.

The nature of the plaster provides the current panel with softness and fluidity, weightlessness or other worldliness, only seemingly possible within this fragile and tactile medium.

The plasters created by Giacometti reveal a comparative closeness to the artist’s creative process. Works rendered in plaster exist throughout Giacometti’s oeuvre emerging in his early sculptures and bas-reliefs, such as the current lot, and later in postwar sculptures. Giacometti modeled the initial plasters by hand and with modest tools. The appeal of the medium was that it allowed him a freedom to return and later sculpt or tint the material. The plaster was then used to create the mold which would serve as the basis for the cast bronze sculpture. Subtle handwork and rich modeling details are readily visible in the plasters. Some expressions such as Tete qui regarde from 1928 exist only in the plaster medium. Other subjects have survived in plaster and in limited edition bronze sculptures.

Giacometti often explored the male and female form, yet the plaster medium deftly conveys the lonely human condition that dominated his body of work. The solitude of the sculptures of this period begin to show his deviation from the surrealist aesthetic and return to more  figural representations after 1934. The handling of the figures with softened profiles in austere surroundings led critics, such as Waldemar George, to regard these works as “excavated objects” in review. The nature of the plaster provides the current panel with softness and fluidity, weightlessness or other worldliness, only seemingly possible within this fragile and tactile medium.

An example of this subject rendered in bronze is in the collection of the Fondation Giacometti in Paris.

Deaccessioning, moi?

Mark and Susan Laracy on collecting, ageing, and changing tastes

We started collecting in our early forties, facilitated by the success of the perfume company we founded after Mark’s separation by firing from corporate life. The premise of Parfums de Coeur, “Designer quality fragrances not designer prices”, proved powerful and enduring...we sold it after thirty years of success and profitable growth.

Early on we acquired a noble white brick colonial on nine acres in New Canaan, Connecticut. Designer-magician, Albert Hadley transformed it into a place of great comfort, luxury, and beauty and he became part of our life for twenty six years. We collected American antiques, furniture and art, John Brewster, Amni Phillips, Goddard Townsend. We wanted to project a life of conservative comfort, solid old money—of course, nothing could have been further from the truth!

“Timing IS everything!"

Come 2005, we were empty nesters, Susan decided to depart Connecticut and move to New York City. We wanted change, foreign films, newness. We found a co-op at One Fifth Avenue, starting a long running love affair with Greenwich Village.

In early 2007 we sold our antiques collection and New Canaan house, talk about blessed timing!

Ours proved a familiar collecting arc; brown furniture and folk art gave way to mid-century modern furniture and contemporary art. We were tired of dark; we wanted color, newness, more space! In 2010 a Greenwich Village townhouse came our way. We had never stopped buying and collecting and we were always redecorating!

We continue changing our lives. We are building a new mid-century modern style house in Beverly Hills. Again, we wanted change, to be near our only grandchild, in La La land. We will be bi-coastal—New York and Los Angeles—straight urban energy full on.

Another motivation was realizing Mark has proven unable to maintain three houses; just too, too much. So we are selling our Florida home at the Bears Club and our 1917 Summer home in Weekapaug, Rhode Island.

By now you see the contents of those two houses will not easily fit into one new smaller house, thus our parting ways with these long cherished objects.

On one hand we’re sorry to see these go. However, these memories will always be with us, the wins and misses at so many auctions, Albert Hadley’s special eye on our handful of houses, most of all what a lucky and mostly happy life we have had together. We are passing these on, and, dear reader, we hope these bring you the same pleasures and good fortune we have so enjoyed.

P.S. A mild antidote to the above admitted orgy of fat cat disease: we regularly give to and support Harlem Children’s Zone and KIPP. This, and our two wonderful sons, is what we are most proud of...

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti was a renowned sculptor and painter known for creating haunting, spindle-bodied sculptures that embodied the post-World War II psychic landscape. While most of his contemporaries were working in abstraction, Giacometti returned to the human form, exploring the immediate psychological and philosophical complexities of the era.

Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, Switzerland into a family of painters and artists. He started painting at the age of 12 and in 1919, attended the École des Arts Industriels in Geneva. In 1920 and 1921, he traveled with his father to Italy, where he encountered Egyptian art in Rome that deeply affected his artistic sensibility. He moved to Paris in 1922 to attend the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière and exhibited his first major bronze work, Spoon Woman in 1926 at the Salon des Tuileries. This work, while abstract, shows his enduring interest in the human form and draws from the iconography of primitive, African and Oceanic art. His approach to reducing the body to geometrical shapes gained him attention among the Cubists in Paris and he continued to work further into abstraction, eventually incorporating Surrealist motifs and Freudian principles into his sculpture in the early 1930s. An early, important work of his, Suspended Ball (1930), exhibited at the Galerie Pierre, is enigmatic in its erotic, dreamlike presence.

Auction Results Alberto Giacometti