14 April 2015
Bust of Man, 1965-66. Plaster. Giacometti Foundation Collection, Paris
1965, the year before Alberto Giacometti died was also the year of his consolidation as an established artist. Giacometti was selected for three important retrospectives at the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery in London and the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, all of which were a great success. He was on the cover of the New York Times magazine’s June 1965 issue. The Swiss artist, who had lived most of his life in Paris, was awarded the Grand Prix National des Arts in France in December and that same year he was hospitalised a few weeks later in Coire, Switzerland where he died on 11 January 1966. Sabine Weiss immortalised his studio in her photographs of 1966 showing his works in progress, some of which remained unfinished at his death.
Sabine Weiss, Studio of Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1966.
“Why is it we find something beautiful? Why do we regard trees handsome? Or the sky? Or faces? Instead of considering them commonplace? That is, there actually are people who find reality banal and ordinary, people who believe that there is greater beauty in works of art. For me the issue does not even arise! In the past I would go to the Louvre and the paintings and sculptures would cause me a sublime impression… I liked them in the same measure as they gave me more than what I saw of reality. I found them beautiful, much more so than reality itself. Today, if I go to the Louvre I can’t resist contemplating the people who are contemplating the works of art. Today, for me the sublime lies in faces more than in works… So much so that the last occasions on which I have visited the Louvre I have fled, literally fled. All those works had such a miserable air—quite a miserable trajectory, so precarious, a stammering approximation over the course of centuries, in all possible directions yet extremely concise, primary, naïve, in order to delimit a formidable immensity, that I looked despairingly at the living. I saw that nobody would ever be able to grasp this life completely… The endeavour was tragic and derisory.”
- Excerpt from Giacometti’s interview with André Parinaud (Angel Gonzalez, Alberto Giacometti: Works, Writings, Interviews, Ediciones Polgrafa, 2006.)
The second part of exhibition illustrates Alberto Giacometti’s relations with Post-Cubist artists and the Surrealist movement between 1922 and 1935, one of the important sculptures series he created during his first years in Paris, and the critical role he played in the art scene of the period.
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