Alberto Giacometti, L'Homme Qui Marche I (Walking Man) (1961)
As you may have heard a work of art at the Sotheby's London Sales of Modern and Impressionist Art became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction. Going for $104,327,006 the work surpassed the previous record holder, Pablo Picasso's Man with a Pipe, 1905 which had gone for $104,100,00 in 2004.
Giacometti (10 October 1901 – 11 January 1966) was a Swiss sculptor and painter, best known for his elongated and rough surfaced sculptures of figures. His work is recognizable by the spindly limbs of his figures and their movement and restlessness that is evoked by their uneven surfaces and precarious positions. He was part of many artistic movements, like Expressionism, but he was, especially, one of the greatest Surrealist sculptors. He is also said to have identified with the Existentialism movement of thought as well. This was a seminal work for Giacometti. He did two versions of the walking man (I and II) but this cast is believed to be the last cast of the L'Homme Qui Marche I still in private hands, the rest being in museums or publically owned.
Here is an excerpt from the New York Times Art Section article on the piece by Carol Vogel:
"As perhaps the most recognizable of all Giacometti sculptures, “Walking Man I” is itself a trophy piece. Not only is the form impressive, but so is the size. The sculpture was cast in an edition of six and four artist proofs, most of which are in museums or private collections, where they are considered likely to stay. “Walking Man I” was being sold by Dresdner Bank in Germany, which acquired it in 1980. It had been commissioned — along with a group of others bronzes — by the architect Gordon Bunshaft for Chase Manhattan Plaza in downtown Manhattan, where it was to stand alongside Bunshaft’s 60-story glass-and-steel Chase headquarters. Although the installation was never realized, some of the sculptures — and others that Giacometti created as experiments for the project — were made; many, though, he destroyed."
Link to the New York Times article:
Link to an interactive guide through some of the Museum of Modern Art's collection of Giacometti's and an exhibition they put on in 2001: