NEW YORK - A 1947 Giacometti sculpture is poised to set a record next month when it hits the auction block for the first time ever and is expected to sell for $130 million, Christie’s said on Wednesday. The 70-inch (180-cm) bronze, ‘Pointing Man,’ is one of only a handful of art works to command a presale estimate in excess of $100 million. The record price for a sculpture sold at auction is $104.3 million paid for Giacometti’s ‘L’Homme qui marche I’ in 2010. ‘’Pointing Man’ is unquestionably Giacometti’s greatest sculpture,’ said Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president. ‘This example stands apart from all others because it is unique. It was hand-painted by the artist himself.’ Giacometti was born in Switzerland in 1901 and died in 1966. The sculpture, executed in Giacometti’s trademark elongated style with a rippling, irregular and scarred surface, is one of six casts. Four of them grace major museums, including London’s Tate and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The work has been in the same private collection, which Christie’s did not identify, since 1970. ‘Pointing Man’ is the second piece of art from New York’s key spring sales which has a presale estimate of more than $100 million. Last month the. auction house announced it would sell Picasso’s vibrant cubist work, ‘Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),’ with an estimate of $140 million.
Both works will be offered at Christie’s’ May 11 sale, ‘Looking Forward to the Past,’ comprised of a mix of important works from various periods, which augments its semiannual auctions of Impressionist/modern and contemporary art. Two Giacomettis are the only sculptures that have broken the $100 million barrier at auction. The most expensive work ever sold at auction, Francis Bacon’s triptych ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud,’ fetched $142.4 million in November 2013, although several works have sold for more on the private market.