You have another week to check out the Guggenheim Museum’s comprehensive survey of the work of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) before it closes on September 12.
Perhaps best known for his sculptures of extremely slender figures, the exhibition includes several of the artist’s drawings and moody paintings featuring ghostly figures etched onto darkened canvases.
Giacometti was born October 10, 1901 in the village of Borgonovo in Switzerland to a Post-Impressionist painter father, Giovanni, who introduced his sons to the arts. Giacometti’s brother, Diego, was also an artist and served as Giacometti’s assistant and frequent model. Upon moving to Paris in 1922, Giacometti took up a small (15’x16’) studio in Montparnasse where he produced most of his work (except for a period from 1941 to 1945 when the German army prohibited him from reentering France following a visit to Geneva) until his death in 1966.
Giacometti moved to Paris to study with sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, but the young artist decided to stop his classical training after discovering the work of Brancusi, Picasso, and other innovative artists, according to the Guggenheim’s notes. Giacometti’s early abstract work shows Cubist and Surrealist influences. The artist’s interest in the Bronze Age, African, Egyptian, and Oceanic art influenced how he later developed his forms and figures.
In the late 1940s, Giacometti began creating his distinctive, elongated and exaggerated figures that “resonated strongly with a public grappling with the extreme alienation and anxiety wrought by the devastation of World War II. Giacometti was unflinching in his portrayal of humanity at its most vulnerable,” according to the intro to the exhibit.
Following surgery for stomach cancer in 1963 and the death of his mother in 1964, Giacometti’s later work focused on mortality and loss. According to the Guggenheim’s notes, despite critical praise and financial success, during the final decade of his career, Giacometti was insecure about his abilities to recreate his subjects or “the reality he saw before him,” and worked constantly to battle his anxieties. He died in Switzerland on January 11, 1966 at the age of 64 of heart disease.
Learn more at Guggenheim.org. Exhibition on view through Wednesday, September 12.
L-R: Monumental Head, bronze, 1960; Tall Woman IV, bronze, 1960-61; Walking Man I, bronze, 1960
Suspended Ball, plaster, painted metal, string, 1930-31
Woman with Her Throat Cut, bronze, 1932
Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object), bronze, 1934
Man Pointing, bronze, 1947
Tall Figure II, plaster, 1949; Medium Figure III, plaster, 1948-49
The Chariot, bronze, 1950
The Nose, bronze, wire, rope, and steel, 1949
Walking Quickly under the Rain, bronze, Ca. 1948
Bust of a Man (Théodore Fraenkel), oil on canvas, 1954
Bust of a Man, bronze, 1956; Bust of a Man (Diego), bronze, 1959
Seated Man, oil on canvas, 1949
Tall Thin Head, bronze, 1954
Bust of Isaku Yanaihara (I), plaster, 1960
Bust of Isaku Yanaihara, oil on panel, 1959
Dog, bronze, 1951