November 15, 2014

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot

His own collection is one of the best, and he’s been collecting since he was a young man. His brother and cousin taught me a lot about music and art, and he recently had the great Zubin Mehta conduct Mahler and Bruckner in an Athens concert. The conductor’s wife—whom I knew as a serious young actress, Nancy Kovack—asked Aleko if he knew Leonidas Goulandris and Taki. “One is my twin brother, the other my best friend,” answered Mr G. Then he teased Nancy by asking her if she went out with us. No, came the answer; Leonidas was into Buddhism and Taki was much too wild for her taste.

Now that the years are passing as quickly as they do, I think a lot about old friendships and stuff like that. Aleko has had great tragedy in his life, losing a daughter to a brain aneurism and a grandson, but he and his wife Marietta have never complained, ever, as far as I know. He is no longer very mobile, but we have regular lunches in Gstaad and in Greece where we drink and reminisce about old beauties and the fun we had behaving badly. His boat is anchored off his private port in the Peloponnese, and he sees me sailing in from afar and gets on the telephone and we tell jokes about other good friends. He possesses an eidetic memory and describes old Athens with passion and elegance. There are only Pinteresque silences when asked direct questions about his person, the way it should be.

The Giacometti sculpture was bought by the vulgar and extremely shady Steven Cohen, a man who is no longer permitted to deal with other people’s money because of his dishonesty. Most of his executives are in or waiting to go to jail for insider trading. Which makes the sale rather ironic. It went from the most honest to the most bent. I sat next to the “Chariot” for 40 years as of March 5th, which is Aleko’s birthday. It is a very good day, March 5 is: Aleko was born and Stalin died.


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