Chandelier bought for £250 in London set to sell for £7m

The Giacometti chandelier, acquired by English painter in an antiques shop in the 1960s has been confirmed as lost work by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti and is set for a record sale at Christie’s.

Bought by the English painter John Craxton in a London antiques shop for £250 the chandelier, made in the late 1940s, may sell at Christie’s in a few weeks’ time for as much as £7m. As reported by The Guardian, pieces by the revered Swiss artist are the most expensive sculptures to buy at auction, and his work regularly breaks saleroom records.

The chandelier has an estimated price of £1.5m – £2.5m (plus the buyer’s premium), but Michelle McMullan at Christie’s recognises this is a conservative baseline for such a “prestigious” chandelier that is “extremely rare”. “The market for Alberto and his brother Diego Giacometti design pieces has never been stronger, with the top price for a Giacometti chandelier at auction being £7,602,400 in 2018 for a bronze from 1949,” she said.

According to the report, when Craxton first spotted the unique light fitting in a shop on Marylebone Road in the 1960s, he believed it had been commissioned by his late friend, the art collector Peter Watson. Confident about his purchase, Craxton – who died in 2009 – hung it in his home in Hampstead, north London, for 50 years, content to reflect on the piece’s extraordinary place in cultural history.

Aside from its aesthetic value, the chandelier once graced the lobby of the Bloomsbury offices of Horizon magazine, the cultural journal, now defunct, which was set up by Watson and Cyril Connolly in 1939 and went on to publish celebrated work by WH Auden, George Orwell, EM Forster and Dylan Thomas.

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