Art market

Christie's Giacometti sale overshadowed by interference of French auctioneers and Giacometti Association protests

The auction was moved to Drouot after commisaire-priseurs' took objection to court-directed sales legislature being overlooked



French auctioneeers have not lost their powers to annoy, even if they have lost their monopoly on auctions. Their most recent guerrilla tactic has been an attempt to prevent Christie’s sale of 38 sculptures from the estate of Annette Giacometti, slated for the 28 September. Their reason? The sale was authorised by a court, and therefore could only be held by a French commissaire-priseur. These retained the monopoly of judiciary sales after the reform last year opened “voluntary sales” to outside competition. As a result, the commissaires took out an injunction in early September to block the event; in extremis, Christie’s found a way out by transferring the sale to Drouot. Then the Giacometti Association itself brought a lawsuit to annul the sale, claiming the dispersal was dilapidating Annette Giacometti’s heritage. The outcome was not known at the time of going to press.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Lawsuits rain on Giacometti sale'