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£250 Alberto Giacometti chandelier sells for £2.9 million


Alberto Giacometti chandelier sold at christie's for £2.9 million

An Alberto Giacometti chandelier bought for £250 has sold at Christie’s for £2.9 million – thanks to the well-trained eye of an artist.

The chandelier was formerly owned by artist John Craxton, who discovered it in a London antiques shop in the 1960s.

Although the maker was unlisted, he immediately recognised it as the work of celebrated Swiss sculptor Giacometti.

Unable to believe his luck, he purchased the chandelier and hung it in his music room for more than 40 years.

Following Craxton’s passing in 2009, artworks from his estate were sold at Christie’s in London on February 28.

And when the chandelier hit the block, it surpassed its high estimate to fetch a final price of £2.9 million ($3.5 million).

The chandelier was a unique piece, created by Giacometti circa 1946-47.

Giacometti had originally been commissioned to design it for the London offices of the renowned literary and arts magazine Horizon.

Giacometti was comissioned to create the one-off piece for the offices of the London arts magazine Horizon, circa 1946-47 (Image: Christie’s)

When the magazine closed down in 1950, the furnishings were packed away into storage.

However, a decade later the chandelier mysteriously reappeared in the antiques store, without any reference to its famous designer.

Craxton only discovered the piece by chance, after banging his head on it as he left the shop.

But his knowledge of Giacometti’s work and style meant he was able to capitalise on the happy accident.

Today Alberto Giacometti is regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and a key figure in the history of Surrealism.

Michelle McMullan, Christie’s head of the 20th-century evening sales, described the piece as a “sculpture in its own right”

“I just think it’s a great combination of Giacometti’s sculptural language, combined with the refinement of his works in design,” she told CNN.

His sculptures can be found in major museums including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Tate museum in London, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

And in 2015 his 1947 bronze sculpture L’Homme au doigt (Pointing Man) sold for at Christie’s for $126 million, setting a world auction record for a sculpture which stands to this day.

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