It’s not the foot of a famous runner, footballer or even Roger Federer that broke, but that of a well-known Alberto Giacometti sculpture. Ten years ago one of the six castings of the sculpture “La Forêt” sold at Christie’s in New York for 13.2 million dollars. The fourth casting belongs to the Giacometti-Stiftung (Association) and can be seen in the Zürcher Kunsthaus, when it is not lent out to other museums.
In December 2008 the sculpture was lent to the Eremitage, one of the world’s most important museums, in St. Petersburg. During the transportation of the sculpture to St. Petersburg one of the feet was damaged. According to Björn Quellenberg from the Kunsthaus the largest figure broke on the thinest position. The sculpture was repaired by the renowned Swiss bronze expert Rolf Fritschi. Quellenberg told the Tages Anzeiger that any ordinary person cannot tell where the sculpture was damaged.
For the damage to the piece the Eremitage’s insurance paid the Kunsthaus exactly 1,645,402.54 francs. With the 8.2 million francs in subsidies from the city of Zurich, the Kunsthaus ended the year with a slight plus of 450,000 francs, which is about what it finished the year 2010 off with in the red.
Quellenberg asserted to the newspaper that damage to works of art with such a high value occur only very seldom. He also said that the Kunsthaus has been very generous in loaning out its artwork and sculptures in the past, and as the demand increases, especially for Giacometti pieces, the Kunsthaus will have to do more work in making sure that the borrowing museums use safe and proper transport and can afford the work a safe and climatically secure place to be displayed.
Giacometti is considered one of the most influential modern sculptors. The Kunsthaus in Zurich houses some 150 of his sculptures, 20 paintings, and other works. Many may recognize Giacometti and his work from the current 100 Swiss franc note.
Wednesday, January 4, 2011.