Alberto Giacometti

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Giacometti, Alberto

(älbĕr`tō jäkōmĕt`tē), 1901–66, Swiss sculptor and painter; son of the impressionist painter Giovannia Giacometti; b. Stampa. He settled in Paris in 1922, studying with BourdelleBourdelle, Émile Antoine
, 1861–1929, French sculptor; son of a cabinetmaker of Montauban. He went to Paris in 1884, where he studied successively under Falguière, Dalou, and Rodin.
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 and becoming associated first with the cubists and then the surrealists (see cubismcubism,
art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907. Cubist Theory

Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras.
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; surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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). His Slaughtered Woman (1932; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City), for example, is a violent surrealist work. Giacometti abandoned surrealist images in 1935. In the 1930s and thereafter, he created highly original sculptures of elongated, emaciated human figures, usually in bronze. He also made open cagelike structures (e.g., The Palace at 4 AM, 1933; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) that were equally powerful.

Giacometti's haunting, anguished images have been described as perfect expressions of existentialist pessimism. In the early 1940s he created works on a drastically reduced scale. In his later years he again formed tall, slender, roughly worked figures that are among his most impressive sculptures. In his mature work, he concentrated on three basic themes for his attenuated figures—the seated portrait, the walking man, and the standing female nude, the latter two often with tiny shrunken heads and enormous, rooted feet. Giacometti's imagery and his plastic technique have had an extensive influence on modern sculpture. Many of his oil paintings and drawings, notably his portraits with their delicate, weblike tangle of lines, are also works of great distinction.


See biography by J. Lord (1985); catalog of the Museum of Modern Art (1965); drawings ed. by J. Lord (1971); J. Lord, Giacometti Portrait (1965), studies by R. Hohl (1971) and D. Sylvester (1996).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Giacometti, Alberto


Born Oct. 10, 1901, in Stampa; died Jan. 11, 1966, in Chur. Swiss sculptor and painter.

Giacometti studied at the Ecole des Arts et Metiers in Geneva from 1919 to 1920 and at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumiere in Paris under E. A. Bourdelle from 1922 to 1925. Experimenting initially with cubism, he was influenced by surrealism between 1929 and 1935. Giacometti is best known for his works executed from 1940 to 1960. These include extremely thin elongated sculptured figures bordering on the irrational (for example, City Square, 1948-49, bronze, Public Art Collection, Basel), rough-textured busts, oil and graphic portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. The spiritual loneliness of man in a bourgeois world is distinctly conveyed by the tragic solitude of Giacomettïs images.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Woman of Venice III, 1956, Alberto Giacometti, bronze, 118x17 x35.1cm.
Badrapette also has a three-year-old daughter in training by Alberto Giacometti called Aye Aye.
A bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti has fetched the world's highest ever price for a work of art sold at auction, going under the hammer for just over Au65 million.
Alberto Giacometti sculpture "The Cat," finished in 1951 and considered one of the Swiss-born sculptor's finest works, failed to clear the threshold of slightly more than $14 million sought by the seller.
* Alberto Giacometti was born in Switzerland to an Italian-speaking family.
On the evening of 5 May 2009, Alberto Giacometti's Le Chat from 1951 will appear at auction for the first time in 34 years.
The Cult of the Artist" (through February 15), celebrating such artists as Joseph Beuys, Caspar David Friedrich, Alberto Giacometti, Martin Kippenberger, Paul Klee, Jeff Koons, Hans von Marees, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Andy Warhol, and, indirectly, the Pharaonic sculptor Thutmose.
Cranach painted both the sacred and erotic, and influenced modern artists including Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. The show of more than 100 works can be seen at the Stadel-Museum in Frankfurt until Feb.
In the Palace presents four performers (one male, three female) striking tableaux vivants in and around a scaled-up homemade version of the architectural structure of Alberto Giacometti's 1932 sculpture The Palace at 4 A.M.
The deaccessioned works include paintings by Amadeo Modigliani, Camille Pissarro, Georges Rouault, Robert Delaunay and Max Beckmann; works on paper by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Patti Klee and Fernand Leger; and sculptures by Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore.
Chen's wordless black-and-white soliloquy documents the last nine years in the life of tormented artist Alberto Giacometti, as the chain-smoking sculptor toils away in his studio.