Our Artists

Alberto Giacometti

The Swiss sculptor, illustrator and painter, Alberto Giacometti is world-famous for his massive, smooth sculptures that give off a hint of eroticism. In a constant search for the “true reality”, he worked through a wide variety of influences, subjects and forms, thus creating a unique and daring body of work.

Biography

Introduction to art

Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo on 10 October 1901. The son of a Swiss post-impressionist painter, he was introduced to painting in his early childhood.
Having studied at the Geneva School of Fine Art, he moved to Paris in 1922 and followed a course in sculpture given by Antoine Bourdelle, who was himself a pupil of Auguste Rodin. His first works, in plaster, were largely inspired by cubism, African art and Greek statuary. One of the best-known is La femme cuillère (Spoon Woman), produced in 1926.
In 1929, he met Jean Cocteau and André Masson, who introduced him to the world of the Surrealists.

Alberto Giacometti, surrealist

In joining the surrealist movement, Alberto Giacometti moved into society and a prosperous period of his life. He painted, sculpted and wrote a large number of texts that were published in Le Surréalisme au service de la revolution (Surrealism serving the Revolution). He sculpted Femme couchée (Reclining woman) Objet désagréable à jeter (Unpleasant object to throw away) (1931) and L’Objet invisible (The invisible object) (1934). Dominant themes are violence, emptiness and anxiety.
Giacometti destroyed many of the works he produced during this period, which he later judged to have been “catastrophic, a total blind alley”.

A return to figurative art

From 1935, Alberto Giacometti returned to the model and became interested in the study of the human head, especially the expression. This return to figurative work was accompanied by a return to the essential and a simplicity of style. He never left the tiny studio in rue Hippolyte-Maindron, which he had occupied since 1927. Giacometti was on a constant search for truth: “Art and science are about trying to understand.” This quest was expressed in a difficulty in understanding the reality of forms in space. He produced sculptures that could be placed in a matchbox, then works of colossal size, constantly altering his characters to remove superfluous details.

After the war: a period of recognition

From 1947, Giacometti abandoned fixed statues and began to produce moving characters, including the famous Homme qui marche (Man walking) (1947). He also revealed his paintings and drawings, mainly portraits produced from memory or using models, the best known being his brother Diego and his wife Annette.
At the height of his fame, he was awarded the sculpture prize at the Venice Biennial in 1962.
Alberto Giacometti died of cancer on 11 January 1966. In 1988 his widow set up the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation, the headquarters of which is in Paris.

Works

Sculptures

Femme cuillère, (Spoon Woman) 1926
Homme et femme
, (Man and Woman) 1929
Objet désagréable à jeter, (Unpleasant object to throw away) 1931  
Femme égorgée, (Woman with her throat cut) 1932
Table surréaliste, (Surrealistic table) 1933
Le Palais à quatre heures du matin, (The Palace at four o’clock in the morning) 1933
L’Objet invisible,  
(The invisible object) 1934
La Femme qui marche, (Woman walking) 1934
Le Nez,  (The Nose) 1947
Tête sur tige, (Head on a stalk) 1947
Homme qui marche, (Man walking) 1947
Femme debout sur socle cubique, (Woman standing on a cubic pedestal) 1953

Paintings

Auto-portrait, (Self-portrait) 1921
La Mère de l’artiste, (The artist’s mother) 1937
Pomme sur un buffet, (Apple on a sideboard) 1937
Paysage à Stampa, (Landscape in Stampa) 1952  
Rue d'Alésia, 1954
Annette dans le studio, (Annette in the studio) 1954
Yanaihara, 1958
Annette, 1962

Useful links

Alberto Giacometti’s studio at the Pompidou Centre

Alberto Giacometti 's products at Nouvelles Images

> Prints and posters

Prints and posters Man Walking
Identity

Nationality(ies) : Swiss
Born on : 10/10/1901
Died on : 11/01/1966
Profile : Designer, Painter, Sculptor
Artistic current(s) : Cubism, Surrealism

Alberto Giacometti (PH1689)

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