Alberto Giacometti's La Main (1947) is set to lead a sale of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby's London on June 24 with an estimate of 10m-15m ($16.8m-25.2m).
The sculpture is one of an edition of five and was among the works shown by Giacometti (1901-1966) in his seminal 1948 exhibition in New York, which brought him international acclaim.
The piece is one of the first full-scale sculptures that he produced in the aftermath of the second world war and is likely to have been directly inspired by his experience of an air raid in the town of Etampes, which he passed through when fleeing Paris in 1940.
In his 1986 biography of Giacometti, James Lord writes: "Buildings were in ruins, burning. A human arm, severed at the shoulder, lay in the road, and they realized it must have come from a woman's body, because a bracelet of green stones still circled the wrist.
"Farther on, they came to a wide, shallow crater where a bomb had recently fallen; around it lay several bodies, torn limbs...The street was running with blood.
"The sculpture [La Main] assumes searing significance as a haphazard item from the inventory of human horror."
Another example of La Main sold for $25.8m at Christie's New York in 2010.
In November last year Giacometti's Grande Tete de Diego made $50m at Sotheby's New York. His record stands at $103.9m for L'Homme Qui Marche 1.
We have a fascinating range of art and photography memorabiia available, including this signed postcard from Picasso - a close friend of Giacometti.
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