Alberto Giacometti and his sculptures at the Venice Biennale

Alberto Giacometti and his sculptures at the Venice Biennale, 1956. Archives of the Giacometti Foundation

Retrospective of Alberto Giacometti at Tate Modern



Tate Modern presents the UK’s first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) for 20 years. 10 May – 10 September 2017.

Source: Tate Modern

Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art. This exhibition will reassert Giacometti’s place alongside the likes of Matisse, Picasso and Degas as one of the great painter-sculptors of the 20th century. Through unparalleled access to the extraordinary collection and archive of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris, Tate Modern’s ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition will bring together over 250 works. It will include rarely seen plasters and drawings which have never been exhibited before and will showcase the full evolution of Giacometti’s career across five decades, from early works such as Head of a “Woman [Flora Mayo]”, 1926, to iconic bronze sculptures such as “Walking Man I”, 1960.

Born in Switzerland in 1901, Giacometti moved to Paris in the 1920s where he became engaged with cubism and latterly joined the Surrealist Group in 1931. Celebrated works such as “Woman with her Throat Cut”, 1932, will reveal Giacometti’s engagement with surrealism as well as his powerful explorations of brutality and sadism. A wide range of the artist’s large scale sculptures will also be showcased alongside his drawings and books. Other works like “Untitled (mask)”, 1934, will demonstrate his engagement with the decorative arts, while “Man (Apollo)”, 1929, and “The Chariot”, 1950, will show his preoccupation with Egyptian and African art. The exhibition will reveal how Giacometti, perhaps more than any other artist of his day, fused the ancient and the modern and broke down barriers between the decorative and the fine arts.

Giacometti left Paris in 1941, relocating to Geneva until the end of the Second World War. Having moved away from surrealism, he became interested in scale and perspective and began to work on much smaller sculptures in a more realistic style as in “Very Small Figurine”, c.1937-9. Following the war and his return to Paris, Giacometti began creating the elongated figures for which he is best known. Working from life, his preoccupation with the alienated and isolated figure became an important motif, embodying the post-war climate of existential despair. The exhibition will include an astounding selection of such masterpieces including “Man Pointing”, 1947, “Falling Man”, 1950, and “The Hand”, 1947, as well as many of Giacometti’s major paintings like “Diego Seated”, 1948, and “Caroline in a Red Dress”, c.1964-5.



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