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Sotheby's to Sell Giorgio Soavi's Collection - Friend of Giacometti, Balthus, Sutherland and Alechinsky
Pierre Alechinsky, Sage, 1970. Signed and dedicated on the versus pour l’ami Giorgio Soavi: it is an acrylic on paper applied on canvas, cm 100x100, estimate 20/30.000 €. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby´s.

MILAN.- Giorgio Soavi - a poet, a novelist and above all a man who loved art; he had a life rich of experiences and interesting encounters none of which describe him univocally, he defined himself a storyteller of the XX Century, and that can be considered the best definition of his character.

His name is strongly tied to Adriano Olivetti’s figure - the famous Italian industrialist and patron - Giorgio married Olivetti’s daughter Lidia - to whom he dedicated a novel called Il Conte, finalist at the known Campiello Book Prize in 1983, he also wrote “Una sorpresa Italiana” (2002) a biography of Adriano Olivetti.

Giorgio had a dynamic and vivacious relationship with the industrial design of the Fifties and of the Sixties, in those years he’d often travel to the United States looking for new creative minds and among the many people he met in this entourage he became good friend with Milton Glaser.

The renowned Olivetti agendas and publications to which Soavi was so intensely dedicated were always illustrated by important graphic designers and artists like Roland Topor and Jen Michel Folon.

Soavi is also well known for being a journalist, with his friend Indro Montanelli - celebrated Italian journalist - he founded the daily newspaper Il Giornale to which his happy intuition gave the name.

To us though it is important to remember Giorgio as an art collector who besides collecting managed to create important friendships with the artists. He met Alberto Giacometti in 1962, they became close friends, their friendship was so important that he dedicated photographic novels, books and a movie to the Swiss artist. He also dedicated an exhibition held in Milan in 2000 to Alberto Giacometti.

Their friendship is testified by a series of works on paper that date from 1949 to 1963. These two drawings, one dated ‘49 and the other dated ‘52 both titled Hommes et Arbres are all intense works, both mentioned in his “Alberto Giacometti. The dream of a head, Milan 2000.

Consequently he did the Head Studies - red and blue pen - (the last, dated 1963, has an estimate of 40/60.000 €). Same date for La Suspension (Light suspended) blue pen on paper, already displayed in Rome at Villa Medici - Academy of France in 1970 and then in Lugano, in Milan at the Palazzo Reale in 1995, Bologna (val. 25/35.000 €).

Soavi writes in 2000 in My Giacometti: " that evening while we were both in Giacometti’s Swiss birth town Stampa, we looked at each other and he told me that if I didn’t mind I was going to be the model for his next portrait" in the Sotheby’s catalogue we published this oil on canvas, dated 1963 and dedicated "To Giorgio Soavi with all of my friendship Stampa April 29 - 1965" - Portrait of Giorgio Soavi - cm 50x 40 exhibited in Milano, Palazzo Reale, 1995; today this oil is estimated 400/600.000 €. Another oil on canvas Portrait of Giorgio a similar painting, 1963, is at The Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation, Paris.

Another of Soavi’s great friends and confident was Balthus, the sophisticated French artist, of whom the collector was a frequent guest in Montreux. In 1973 with a monogram Bs, Balthus dedicated to “his old friend Giorgio” a drawing entitled "Study for Nu de Profil"; the work was exhibited at the Kunstmuseum in Berne in 1994 and in Rome in 1996.

Soavi wrote " the voice emanated by Balthus’ drawings was the best I ever saw and listened to “(in With Balthus, Milan 2001). This beautiful drawing depicts a young girl in Balthus’ style and is estimated 70/100.000 €.

The other pencil on paper by Balthus dedicated to Giorgio, with the monogram Bs and inscribed on the verso, This time for Giorgio, was executed in 1974, cm 37x49 has an estimate of 15/20.000 €).

On his long friendship with Sutherland, Soavi wrote 'When I met Graham Sutherland I knew from the very beginning that I could write on him: my first desire was to become his friend, the second desire that probably anticipated the first one was to collect some of his works for my house in Milan…”.

The most interesting aspect that this collection testifies is based on the strong relationship Giorgio Soavi had with the already mentioned artists and with all the others like Alechinsky and others whose work is illustrated in the catalogue.

By the well known Belgian illustrator – Jean Michel Folon - in the catalogue there are 20 colour inks among which the famous Kafka’s Metamorphosis original illustrations.

It must be mentioned that Soavi was not only a storyteller capable of narrating through his writings, he was also an excellent photographer, as Graham Sutherland defined him, he was 'an exceptional photographer'.

In the catalogue there are over 20 works by Graham Sutherland dated from 1942 to the early Seventies : i.e 1944 Untitled, tempera and crayons on cardboard cm 49x40, val 8/10,000 €.

To be noted the beautiful 1968 Giorgio’s Portrait esteemed 10/15.000 €; and dated '68 too – it is a curiosity— the drawing for the cover of the book Storia con Sutherland.

About Pierre Alechinsky, Soavi wrote that he was always afraid of him, to the point that he defined him in Guardando ( 1991 ) a romantic aggressor; by Alechinsky we mention a 1970 Sage, signed and dedicated on the versus pour l’ami Giorgio Soavi: it is an acrylic on paper applied on canvas, cm 100x100, estimate 20/30.000 €.

Very refined are the works by Theimer - we shortly mention - La Grand Cascade of the 1973-74 oil on canvas, val € 8/10.000 and a magic bronze sculpture (Senza Titolo h. cm 19 val 3/4.000 €); in this catalogue too, all of Giorgio’s friends works: Guarienti, Mattioli, Ferroni, Guccione, Baj, Maccari, Morlotti and others.

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