Alberto GIACOMETTI: [Composition I] Planche pour le portfolio d’Anatole Jakovski – 1934/1935
Price: € 12000
Engraving, 297 x 243 mm. Lust 80, Kornfeld 16.
From the edition of 50 printed for Anatole Jakovski in a portfolio of 23 prints by European artists and published in Paris in 1935 by Editions G. Orobitz. According to Kornfeld Composition I was not printed by Tanneur but by « Stanley W. Hayter, probably working in collaboration with Alberto Giacometti. » (Kornfeld, 16)
Very fine impression on Annam paper watermarked Annam and BFK, signed and numbered 32/50 in pencil in the lower margin ; the number was corrected by Giacometti, as stated in the catalogue Kornfeld about the number 27 belonging to the Fondation Giacometti (number 2006-0783).
Very good condition. The sheet is the largest we have seen: 327 x 248/250 mm (right edge untrimmed) Kornfeld notes the average dimension: 32 x 24,7 cm.
« The portfolio was intended to act as an 'édition de luxe' for a subsequent collection of essays by Jakovski on Marcel Duchamp and the artists from whom the prints were commissioned, but its lack of financial success prevented the publication of the essays. The published album, which can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum Library, was printed in an edition of 50, of which the first 20 were available for sale and the remaining 30 were given to the artists and collaborators. An unspecified number of artist's proofs were also made. » (Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914-1960', BMP, no.75. quoted by the British Museum)
This engraving made for Jakovski in 1934 is one of Giacometti's last non-representational works. Though it seems really abstract, Kornfeld maintains that it can be grouped together with Giacometti's surrealist works: “the cone and the box-like structure are simplified forms of the ‘cages’ and the Boule suspendue [Hanging Ball] (…) Published by Anatole Jakovski in May 1935, soon after Giacometti left the Surrealists, Composition could be seen as a momentary turn to geometric abstraction. But this piece only results from a marked encryption intended to make his work even more esoteric, without however becoming truly abstract.” (Kornfeld, p. 58, our translation). This remark is relevant, but it should be noted that it could apply just as well to most works that are grouped in the category of abstraction, whereas their spirit is very different: in "abstract" paintings by Mondrian, Herbin or Barnett Newmann, the lines, colours or geometric shapes are just as esoteric and do not have the same meaning at all.
References : Frances Carey & Antony Griffiths, 'Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914-1960'; Eberhard W. Kornfeld et Fondation Giacometti, Alberto Giacometti. Catalogue raisonné des estampes, Vol. I, No. 1-231, 1917-1957/1958, Editions Galerie Kornfeld, Berne, 2016.