Alberto Giacometti

    Attributes

    • Male

    About the artist

    1901: Was born in Borgonovo, Switzerland
    1966: Died in Chur, Switzerland

    Alberto Giacometti was born son of the neo-impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti in the Swiss town of Borgonovo on October 10, 1901.

    He began his art studies at the École des Beaux-Arts and the École des Arts Industriels in Geneva in 1919. Three years later he went to Paris, where he attended the sculpting class of Antoine Bourdelle at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière until 1925.

    He started his first studio together with his brother in Paris in 1925. His sculpting style becomes more lavish and spacious, following the post-cubist sculptures of, for example, Jacques Lipchitz and Constantin Brancusi. As of 1925 he finded inspiration in plastic art of primitive people, as can be observed on the torso from 1925.

    He executed the "Plates" as of 1926 - flat figures in form of thin slices, for instance the work Femme-cuiller from 1926-27, with an almost smooth and even surface, he also used gypsum and marble for these objects that call the attention of the Paris circle of surrealists. He joined them for some time, also showing works in their exhibitions, until they broke up in 1934. During this period he made a lot of surrealist plastics and also drawings.

    In the second half of the 1930s Alberto Giacometti worked a lot on studies of heads. His figures got smaller and smaller in size, sometimes they were not bigger than just a few centimeters, but painting remained just as important means of artistic expression for him. He and his brother Diego earned a living by making designs for lamps and furniture for the Parisian interior architect Jean-Michel Frank.

    Alberto Giacometti spent the war years from 1939 to 1945 in Geneva. After the war he returned to Paris where he started to create bronze objects that were thin and elongated, almost appearing as if they were without weight and inertia, their meager impression is increased by the contrast with the rather compact bases that Giacometti places them on.

    Alberto Giacometti finds his own unmistakable style, giving his figures a maximum in expression by reducing and densifying them. The relation between figure and space becomes the central issue of his artistic work.

    His first one-man show takes places at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York in 1948, in which he presented the skinny figures. The exhibition was a major success and marked his breakthrough.

    The series of 150 lithographs titled "Paris sans fin" were made from 1958 to 1965. His oeuvre of paintings comprised numerous portraits of his brother, his wife and friends, but also still lifes, landscapes and studio pictures. Just as with his sculptures, the predominant theme of his paintings is the relation between the slim object and space.

    Alberto Giacometti died in Chur on January 11, 1966.

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