Giacometti sculpture sells for $101 million

A rare 1950 bronze sculpture by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti sold for $101 million at auction in New York on Tuesday night.

Giacometti sculpture sells for $101 million
Pricey art: Giacometti's "Chariot" and Modigliane's "Tete". Photo: Sotheby's

The sculpture, "Chariot," is one of the seminal achievements of modern art and Sotheby's had valued it at more than $100 million.
Selling for $100.97 million, it depicts a goddess frozen in motion and was considered a beacon of hope for the post-World War generation.
The record for a Giacometti work of art at auction is $104.3 million, paid for "Homme qui marche I" at Sotheby's in 2010.
The identity of the buyer was not immediately known. The sculpture had been in the same private collection for four decades.
"Chariot" was the most expensive valued lot in a week of auctions at Sotheby's and rival Christie's, which began Tuesday and last until November 12th.
"With its connotations of healing, strength and magic, this heroic sculpture is a symbol of renewal following the Second World War," said Simon Shaw, Sotheby's co-head of impressionist and modern art.
Also on Tuesday, Amedeo Modigliani's small sculpture "Tete" smashed pre-sale expectations by selling for $70.7 million. Sotheby's said the price was an auction record for the artist.
Dating from 1911-1912, it is one in a series of rare sculptures carved from blocks of stone scavenged from construction sites across Paris.
It had been valued at $45 million.
"The market is rediscovering sculpture and they are now among the most desirable works of art," said Shaw last week.
A third highlight of Sotheby's sale was Vincent van Gogh's "Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies," which fetched $61.8 million, surpassing its pre-sale estimate of $30-50 million.
The artist painted it three months before his death.
Christie's and Sotheby's are auctioning around $1.7 billion worth of impressionist and modern, post-war and contemporary art over the next week.
The world record for the most expensive piece of art sold at auction was a Francis Bacon triptych — "Three Studies of Lucian Freud"— which sold for $142.4 million at Christie's last year.

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Marie Antoinette’s exquisite jewels up for auction in Geneva

Diamonds and pearls that once belonged to French King Louis XVI's Queen Marie-Antoinette and have never been seen in public are to go on sale.

Marie Antoinette's exquisite jewels up for auction in Geneva
A diamond parure composed of 95 diamonds, including five solitaire diamonds that belonged to Marie-Antoinette. Photo: Sotheby's/AFP

Sotheby's said the auction of more than 100 lots, all owned by the Bourbon-Parma family, will be held in Geneva on November 12th.

“This is one of the most important collections of royal jewellery ever to come to market,” said Daniela Mascetti of Sotheby's Europe.

“Kept out of view, never seen in public, this extraordinary collection offers a fascinating glimpse of the life of this family in centuries gone by,” she added in a statement. 

Photo: An inside view of the Queen's Hamlet, in the Versailles Castle estate, built for Marie-Antoinette between 1783 and 1787, after restoration work. Photo: AFP

Marie Antoinette's diamond pendant with an exceptional natural pearl is expected to fetch up to $2 million (€1.7 million).

A necklace of more than 300 natural pearls has been valued at up to $300,000 (€255,000) and a pair of pearl drop earrings 50,000 dollars.

“Renowned for her extravagance and the splendour and lavishness of her court, Marie Antoinette is very often portrayed wearing pearls,” Sotheby's noted.

The sale will include jewels from other royal families up to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire, all owned by the Bourbon-Parma family.

A parure of 95 diamonds, including five solitaires once in the queen's possession and valued at up to $500,000, will go under the hammer.

An opulent diamond tiara offered by Emperor Franz-Josef to his great niece the Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria on her marriage in 1902 to Elias of Bourbon, Duke of Parma, has  an estimated value of up to $120,000.

When Louis, Marie Antoinette and their children tried to flee the French Revolution in March 1791, the royal jewels were smuggled out of the country into the trust of a confidant in Brussels.

He sent them on to her nephew the Emperor of Austria who later gave them to Marie Antoinette's only surviving child Marie Therese of France.

“Most of the jewels in the collection were given to Robert I (1848-1907), the last sovereign Duke of Parma and Piacenza, by his mother, Louise of France (1819-1864), grand-daughter of King Charles X of France and great niece of Marie Antoinette,” Sotheby's said.

On October 16, 1793, Marie Antoinette was guillotined as the revolutionary Reign of Terror raged. The following month Louis XVI met a similar fate. 

Read also: Diamond once set in crown of French kings to be auctioned in Geneva