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Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

(1901 - 1966)
Born: Stampa, Switzerland
Style: Surrealism
Famous Works:
  • The Palace at 4 A.M. (1932-33)
  • Man Pointing (1947)
  • The City Square (1948-49)
Alberto Giacometti, the son of Post-Impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti, was born in Switzerland and immersed in the world of art. Giacometti completed many drawings and paintings as a child and attended the Geneva School of Fine Arts as a teenager. The artist moved to Paris in his early twenties to study under painter and sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Though he had sculpted from live models, Giacometti became increasingly interested in sculpting from his imagination, and began experimenting with sculptural abstraction in the 1920s. These abstract works paved the way for Giacometti to enter the Surrealist movement and meet many of its contributors, including Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and Joan Miró. Giacometti's work with the Surrealists enabled him to achieve some notoriety, as well make contacts and create relationships within the art world. In the mid-1930s, Alberto Giacometti decided to revisit the human form as a subject for his work, effectively ending his involvement with the Surrealist movement. The shift to sculpting humans did not come easy to Giacometti, and when he was dissatisfied with a sculpture he was known to destroy it, or persist in reworking it until almost nothing remained. This obsessive behavior eventually led to human forms that appear thin and emaciated, the very forms for which Giacometti became famous. The bronze in these pieces is rough and the attenuated figures contrast starkly with their environments. This interaction was of utmost important to the artist, who strove to engender awareness of the body and space around it. As time went on, Giacometti's figures increased in scale, and the artist achieved international recognition. Giacometti exhibited in the United States and Europe, winning the prestigious sculpture prize at the Venice Biennale in 1962. His other work includes multiple busts of his brother, Diego, who was his collaborative partner throughout his life.
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