The World of Decorative Arts from Giacometti to African Sculpture

On 07 April 2021, by Claire Papon

A big duck by François-Xavier Lalanne ushers in works by Émile Gallé, Alberto Giacometti, Charlotte Perriand and two African sculptures.

Tugubele divination statue, Senoufo people, Sandogo society (Ivory Coast), wood with a crusty patina, 19th century, h. 34 cm/13.39 in.
Estimate: €50,000/70,000

Marius-Joseph Sain (painter Paul Sain’s brother) depicted Diane chasseresse (Diana the Huntress) with a determined face, holding a flexed bow with a dog at her side and a quiver on her shoulder. Estimated €70,000/90,000, this 1930s cast features lovely surface effects suggesting the fabrics’ texture. This piece attests to Sain’s sensitivity to the beauty of nude women as well as his penchant for monumental work.

François-Xavier Lalanne’s duck-shaped clothes rack of 1971 is a one-off piece. In another vein, Alberto Giacometti’s bronze Lampadaire à l’étoile (Star Lamp) with a brown patina and green highlights, based on a model designed around 1936, is estimated €120,000/150,000. His terracotta floor lamp, Grecque (grand modèle) (Greek [Large Size]), designed and made for Jean-Michel Frank around 1936-1937, is expected to fetch €80,000/120,000. Émile Gallé’s rare Fleur de l’eau (Water Flower) inlaid beech tea table was on display at the 1900 Paris Exposition (€10,000/15,000).

Next come the traditional arts, starting with an imposing late 19th-early 20th century Tau-tau funerary statue with upturned forearms and palms by the Toraja people of Sulawesi (Indonesia). Once adorned and wearing a sarong, its estimate is €60,000/80,000. Only the carved part has survived. The piece attests to the importance of funerary rites among these mountain people: the deceased attained the status of deified ancestor and intercessor between the beyond and people on Earth. From the Ivory Coast's Senufo people, a masterful divination statuette of a seated Tugubele recalls the key role of women in the secretive, matrilineal Sandogo society (€50,000/70,000).

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