Giacometti sculpture in sealed bid auction – starting price USD90M

NEW YORK (AFP) – A sculpture by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti is being auctioned by Sotheby’s with a reserve price of USD90 million but the winning offer today could remain secret as it is being sold by sealed bid.

If Grande femme I sells for more than USD100 million, Giacometti will equal Pablo Picasso as only the second artist with four works beyond that threshold.

The nearly 2.68 metre bronze of a spindly female figure, cast in 1960, is part of a series of large outdoor sculptures originally intended for Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York but never installed.

Under the rules of the hybrid auction, interested buyers can make only one secret bid of at least USD90 million. The auction closes at 1600 GMT today and the work will go to the highest bid, if it is at least five per cent higher than the second highest, otherwise a second round will take place.

Unlike a traditional auction, Sotheby’s will not reveal the purchase price, although the buyer can if they wish.