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Its main task will be to administer a huge collection of Giacometti’s work, worth an estimated £200m, that has been in storage since Annette’s death in 1993. Its 3600 items include 1661 drawings, 359 plaster casts, 304 bronzes, and 96 paintings.

The foundation will publish the catalogue raisonné of Giacometti’s work and have the right to sell a limited number of posthumous castings to cover running costs.

There are no plans to create a new Giacometti museum, but the foundation are expected to lend works for exhibition around the world.

At the same time, it has emerged that an examining magistrate has deemed that Roland Dumas, who was executor of Annette Giacometti’s estate until 1999 and Foreign Minister under François Mitterrand, should face trial for fraud in connection with the auction of 18 works by Giacometti in 1994.

The sale, held to offset running costs for administering the estate, was staged by Jacques Tajan, who the examining magistrate has also said should face trial, in connection with charges for his services. Payments of Fr2.4m (around £240,000), made by Tajan to Dumas between 1994 and 1996, ostensibly for legal and counseling fees, have also been questioned by an investigating magistrate. Dumas and Tajan deny wrongdoing.