CREATION OF THE FOUNDATION AND RECOGNITION OF PUBLIC BENEFIT
The creation of a foundation ensuring the influence of her husband’s work had been envisaged in 1986 by Annette Giacometti, the widow of Alberto Giacometti. At that time she entrusted her lawyer, maître Roland Dumas, to draft the bylaws of a foundation to which she would bequeath the copyrights and works of her husband, deceased in 1966, as well as the archives in her possession. A building was purchased in 1986 in the Cour de Rohan, near the Odéon in Paris, to accommodate the headquarters of the future foundation.
In 1988, an “Alberto et Annette Giacometti” association was formed for 5 years by Annette Giacometti, who presided over it, with the objective of supporting the creation of the foundation. A clause expressly made provision for its dissolution if the creation of the foundation had not occurred within that period.
A first request for recognition of public benefit of a “Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti” was presented by the association and transmitted, in 1991, by the Ministry of Interior to the Council of State which made its observations; thus the foundation was still not established when Annette Giacometti died in 1993. It took ten years to finally set up the constitution of that foundation as wanted by Annette Giacometti and planned in her will – which appointed Roland Dumas sole legatee with responsibility to create the foundation.
In 1994, a revised request for recognition of public benefit was presented by Roland Dumas to the Ministry of Culture. At the same time, M. Dumas and the auctioneer Jacques Tajan pleaded for a payment in kind to the museums to replace the foundation. Faced with those contradictions, the Ministry of Culture pointed out that the bylaws did not define clearly enough the purpose of the foundation and did not ensure its financial viability, and the project had to be modified. A little less than a year after Annette Giacometti’s death, M. Dumas and M. Tajan hastily organized, in the middle of the summer, the public sale in Paris of a few works of considerable interest, some unique and from the artist’s collection, which left the patrimony of the future foundation. The product of that sale remained on the account of the Tajan society in circumstances that the trial that ended with the condemnation in solidum of M. Dumas and M. Tajan in appeal has made plain (condemnation confirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeal).
In 1994, faced with criticism about his management, which was becoming more and more pressing, M. Dumas asked the tribunal to interpret the will and ended up being recognized as executor and no longer sole legatee. Consequently he sought the designation of a legal administrator, Pierre Zecri. Between 1994 and 1999, the dossier seemed to drag.
On the 8th June 1999, the Minister of Culture, Catherine Trautmann, who wished to give her support to the establishment of the foundation, entrusted Jacques Vistel, member of the Conseil d'Etat, president of the Musée Rodin and ex-associate director of the museums of France, to speed up the process undertaken by making all the necessary contacts (with the executor of Annette Giacometti, the association “Alberto et Annette Giacometti” and the members of the artist’s family) in order to finally fulfill Annette Giacometti’s wish. By a ruling of the 1st July 1999 made on the request of the executor, Hélène Da Camara was named administrator of the succession with the aim of obtaining the creation of the Foundation. To assist her in the sharing of the joint ownership of Alberto Giacometti’s estate, Hélène Da Camara obtained a few months later, from the Ministry of Culture, the appointment of Véronique Wiesinger, Curator at the Heritage, as expert. But the dossier dragged on once again. The delays in the fulfillment of the recognition of public benefit were justified by the sharing of the joint ownership still postponed by the administrator, while his fees were constantly increasing. It was only with the pressure of articles in the press denouncing his action that the administrator finally resolved to pursue the recognition of public benefit without the sharing being concluded. A subsequent decision by the court made against the administrator did allow for the reimbursement to the Foundation of a portion of the paid fees.
A new version of the bylaws was transmitted to the Interior Minister on the 24th March 2003 signed by Hélène Da Camara. The recognition of public benefit was given by decree to the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti in December 2003, finally enabling its actual establishment. The administration board held its first meeting on the 15th December 2003 and elected Jacques Vistel, member of the Council of State, as President, and nominated Véronique Wiesinger as director. Jacques Vistel presided over the Foundation for two mandates until the end of 2011, when he was replaced by Olivier Le Grand.