A number of works by Swiss sculptor and painter, Alberto Giacometti, stored at the Grisons Museum of Fine Art in Churc, Switzerland; have been seized by Swiss prosecutors. The 16 sketches and 101 photographs of the artist by photographers including Man Ray, and Robert Doisneau, have been kept in storage for the last two years following an accusation from The Alberto Giacometti Foundation in Paris that the works were stolen decades ago.
Giacometti is now the creator of the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction: 1947 sculpture Pointing Man sold at Christie’s New York in May 2015 for $141 million. When he died in Chur in 1966, according to Reutors who assessed court documents, this haul of drawings and photographs were in the possession of the artist. In 1998, they somehow ended up in the hands of a mysterious “great art lover”, who in turn sold the trove to Remo Stoffel for $1 million, after The Grisons museum enlisted Stoffel to buy the collection, which he would then loan to them for 15 years.
The collection of drawings was first exhibited in 2011; and almost immediately after, the Giacometti foundation in Paris filed a complaint; insisting the sketches and photos had been “fraudulently stolen.”
The trove has been kept in storage at the museum ever since Swiss police intervened in February 2014. Katharina Ammann, who collaborated on the catalog of the 2011 exhibition, told Reuters. “[The collection] offers a very important documentation of the artist and his private side … it is also the perfect accompaniment for the few Giacometti works already part of the Grisons museum’s collection.”
At present it is unclear what will happen, beyond the confiscation of the haul.