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Edited by Karole P.B. Vail, Megan Fontanella. Text by Valerie Fletcher, Catherine Grenier, Karole P.B. Vail.
A fresh appraisal of Giacometti's output, from painting to sculpture
This comprehensive survey of the work of the Swiss-born modern master Alberto Giacometti offers a fresh and incisive account of his creative output. Published on the occasion of Giacometti’s first major museum presentation in the US in over a decade, the volume brings together nearly 200 sculptures, paintings and drawings to trace the artist’s wide-ranging and hugely innovative engagement with the human form across various mediums.
While Giacometti may be best known for his distinct figurative sculptures that emerged after World War II, including a series of elongated standing women, striding men and expressive busts, this volume devotes equal attention to the artist’s early and midcareer development. It explores his lesser-known engagement with Cubism and Surrealism as well as African, Oceanic and Cycladic art, while also highlighting his remarkable talents as a draftsman and painter alongside his sculptural oeuvre. Of particular focus is Giacometti’s studio practice, which is examined through rarely seen plaster sculptures that highlight the artist’s working process, in addition to historical photographs documenting his relationship with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—which hosted the artist’s first US museum exhibition, in 1955—and with New York City.
Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, Switzerland, in 1901. In 1922, Giacometti settled in Paris, and began to exhibit his sculptures. By 1930 he was a participant in the Surrealist circle, up until 1934—also the year that he first exhibited in the US, at the legendary Julien Levy Gallery in New York. From 1942, Giacometti lived in Geneva, where he associated with the publisher Albert Skira. In 1948, he was given a solo show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York. In 1955, he received retrospectives at the Arts Council Gallery, London, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. He received the Sculpture Prize at the 1961 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. In 1965, retrospective exhibitions were organized by the Tate Gallery, London, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Giacometti died in 1966.
Karole P. B. Vail is Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, and former curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Megan Fontanella is Curator of Modern Art and Provenance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Valerie Fletcher is Executive Director of the Institute for Human Centered Design, Massachusetts.
Catherine Grenier is Director of the Giacometti Foundation, France.
"Walking Man I" (1960) is reproduced from 'Giacometti.'
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
New York Times
When all of us are trailed by inescapable terabytes of data, we can almost envy Giacometti’s slender bronze wraiths: stripped to the bone but still human, stripped of their names but still free.
This modern artist takes us back in time as much as he shows a way ahead.
The New Yorker
A terrific selection of paintings and drawings...whose lyricism is as suprising as birds escaping a magician's tophat.
Wall Street Journal
Giacometti’s willful distortions transcend eccentricity and artifice.
The New Yorker
The Swiss master of the skinny sublime is the subject of a majestic, exhuasting retropective.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/7/2018
Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) was, quite simply, the best. A Surrealist, a figurative artist and an abstractionist, he not only redefined sculpture in the 1940s but he remains one of the great artists of all time. This week, a major retrospective opens at the Guggenheim Museum—and from the looks of the museum's indispensable exhibition catalog, it's sure to be a summer blockbuster. Featured photograph, made in the artist's Maloja, Switzerland, studio, in the mid-1950s, pictures, from left to right, "Head of Diego" (ca. 1914), "Head of Bruno" (ca. 1917), "Head of a Woman (Rita)" (1935), two small "Busts of Silvio" (1943), and "Head of Father (Mask)" (1927). continue to blog
FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/8/2018
Featured image, of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti working in his Paris Studio in 1958, is reproduced from the catalogue to the major Giacometti show opening today at the Guggenheim. Essayist Valerie J. Fletcher cites a transformative vision experienced by the artist in a movie theater, during which he "suddenly recognized a specific idiosyncratic way of perceiving the world around him: 'I see reality for the first time but in such a way that I can make everything very rapidly… Each day I find a new thing… All those years when I made and remade those little figurines, I never dared imagine that all that would bring me such tremendous progress in Paris.' This powerful vision enabled the artist to depict figures in motion, as if breaking free from the enforced immobility of the war years." continue to blog
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