Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER TWO
 

TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
 

SCULPTURE BEFORE WORLD WAR I
SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
SCULPTURE SINCE 1945 - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
 
 


SCULPTURE

 


SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS




Alberto Giacometti.


Picasso's impact can be seen in The Palace at
4 A.M. (fig. 1138) by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), a Swiss sculptor and painter who lived in Paris. In 1928 Picasso had made a number of wire constructions, including a maquette for a monument to the poet Apollinaire, that are its immediate forerunners. Giacometti, however, has transformed them into an airy cage that is the three-dimensional equivalent of a Surrealist picture. Unlike earlier pieces of sculpture, it creates its own spatial environment that clings to it as though this eerie miniature world were protected from everyday reality by an invisible glass bell. The space thus trapped is mysterious and corrosive and gnaws away at the forms until only their skeletons are left. And even they, we feel, will disappear before long.
 


1138. Giacometti Alberto. The Palace at 4 A.M. 1932-33.
Construction in wood, glass, wire, and string,
63.5 x 71.8 x 40 cm.
Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

 

 



Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti, (born Oct. 10, 1901, Borgonovo, Switz.—died Jan. 11, 1966, Chur), Swiss sculptor and painter, best known for his attenuated sculptures of solitary figures. Notable works include “Head of a Man on a Rod” (1947) and “Composition with Seven Figures and a Head (The Forest)” (1950). His work has been compared to that of the existentialists in literature; in 1963 Giacometti designed the set for Samuel Beckett’s drama Waiting for Godot.

Giacometti displayed precocious talent and was much encouraged by his father, Giovanni, a Postimpressionist painter, and by his godfather, Cuno Amiet, a Fauvist painter. He spent a happy childhood in the nearby village of Stampa, to which he returned regularly until his death. His brother Diego became known as a furniture designer and shared Giacometti’s life as his model and aide. Another brother, Bruno, became an architect.

Giacometti left secondary school in Schiers in 1919 and then went to Geneva, where he attended art classes during the winter of 1919–20. After a time in Venice and Padua (May 1920), he went to Florence and Rome (fall 1920–summer 1921), where rich collections of Egyptian art taught him that the impact of ancient and primitive hieratic styles—which adhere to fixed, conventional types and frontal or rigid figures—could be used as an equivalent for the force of reality.

Between 1922 and 1925 Giacometti studied at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière in Paris. Although he owed much to his teacher, Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, his style was very different. It was related to the Cubist sculpture of Alexander Archipenko and Raymond Duchamp-Villon and to the Post-Cubist sculpture of Henri Laurens and Jacques Lipchitz. An example is “Torso” (1925). He was also inspired by African and Oceanic art, as in “The Spoon-Woman” (1926). His first important personal achievements were flat, slablike sculptures, such as “Observing Head” (1927/28), which soon made him popular among the Paris avant-garde.

Any resemblance to reality had been abandoned in the period 1925–29, when he created mannered figures, such as “Cubist Composition” (1926) and “Three Figures Outdoors” (1929). The trend continued in the period 1930–32, in works in which emotions and erotic themes were given Surrealist sculptural form (“Suspended Ball” and “The Palace at 4 A.M.”). In 1933–34 Giacometti attempted metaphorical compositions using the themes of life and death (“The Invisible Object” and “1 + 1 = 3”). At this time he was disturbed by the thought that his serious works of art had as little reference to reality as the merely decorative vases and lamps that he made to earn a living. Breaking definitely with the Surrealist group in 1935, he began to work after nature again; what had started as mere studies became a lifelong adventure: the phenomenological approach to reality—that is, the search for the given reality in what one sees when one is looking at a person.

Around 1940 Giacometti arrived at matchstick-sized sculptures: figures and heads seen frontally as ungraspable appearances of reality far away in space. Around 1947 his massless, weightless image of reality was expressed in a skeletal style, with figures thin as beanstalks. From 1947 to 1950 he did compositions related to his work of the early 1930s—“Tall Figures”; “City Square”; “Composition with Seven Figures and a Head (The Forest)”; and “Chariot”—and rapidly became known, especially in the United States, through two exhibitions (1948 and 1950) at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York City and an essay on his art by the French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre.

The evolution of his art continued, taking the form of a search for ways to challenge, actually to equal, reality in sculpture as well as in painting. For Giacometti an artwork was to become an almost magical evocation of reality in an imaginary space, as in heads of Diego and figures after his wife Annette (1952–58), executed like apparitions on gray canvases or on space-delimiting bases. The artwork also had to be invested with the power of acting on the spectator like a double of reality in real space, as in portraits of Caroline or Elie Lotar, his models and friends in the last years (1958–65), which are heads and busts gazing intently and made only with lines of force, without contour lines or surfaces. At this point the phenomenological approach was superseded; he felt that reality was no longer dependent on being perceived by someone; reality simply was. Like the characters of Beckett’s novels and plays his figures represented a worldview in which space and time have their origin in the core of each being. Giacometti died of an inflammatory heart condition, without having carried out the final composition of the work he had been concerned with since the early 1930s, the metaphor of the totality of life.

Giacometti was one of the outstanding artists of the 20th century. At a time when avant-garde artists aimed at rendering nonfigurative or expressive qualities rather than achieving resemblance to reality, he worked for the unattainable goal of equaling reality by rendering a portrait—whether drawing, painting, or sculpture—so that it would be perceived by the spectator with the impact it would have were it a living person. To do this he introduced into the art of sculpture a new concept of rendering distance. Massless and weightless, his figures and heads are immediately seen from a specific frontal point of view and therefore perceived as situated in distance and space.

Giacometti had such intellectual integrity—for example, living in a shabby studio in Montparnasse even after fame and fortune had reached him—that he became for his contemporaries, especially those of the postwar generation, an almost legendary figure during his lifetime.

The Art Gallery (Kunsthaus) in Zürich and the Beyeler Gallery in Basel, Switz., have the most comprehensive collections of Giacometti’s sculpture (on loan from the Alberto Giacometti Foundation). Other important collections are in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, and in the Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul, Fr.


Reinhold D. Hohl


Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 

 


Giacometti Alberto. The Cage


 

Giacometti Alberto. Objet desagreable a jeter
1932


 

Giacometti Alberto. Cat
1954



 

Giacometti Alberto. Femme de Venise IV
1956


 

Giacometti Alberto. Figures


 

Giacometti Alberto. Figures


 

Giacometti Alberto. Striding Man
1960


 

Giacometti Alberto. Walking Man II
1960


 

Giacometti Alberto. Stehende III
1962


 

Giacometti Alberto. Bust of Diego


 

Giacometti Alberto. Standing Woman
1953


 

Giacometti Alberto. Suspended Ball
1931


 

Giacometti Alberto. Disagreeable Object (To Be Disposed of)
1931


 

Giacometti Alberto. Woman with Her Throat Cut
1932


 

Giacometti Alberto. Woman with Her Throat Cut
1932


 

Giacometti Alberto. Annette IV
1962


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Buste de Diego : New York II


 

Giacometti Alberto. Four Figurines on a Base
1950



 


Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman

1958-9


Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman

1958-9


Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman
1958-9



 

Giacometti Alberto. The Surrealist Table


 

Giacometti Alberto. Lotar III
1965


 

Giacometti Alberto. Standing Woman


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Spoon Woman
1926


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Woman Walking
1932


 

Giacometti Alberto. Nose
1947


 

Giacometti Alberto. City Square
1948


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman ("Leoni")
1947


 

Giacometti Alberto. Woman of Venice
1956


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman
1947


 

Giacometti Alberto. Three Men Walking II
1949


 

Giacometti Alberto. The Couple
1926


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Woman
1928


 

Giacometti Alberto. Gazing Head
1928


 

Giacometti Alberto. Head-Skull
1933



 

Giacometti Alberto. Head-Skull
1933


 

Giacometti Alberto. Head-Skull


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object)
1934


 

Giacometti Alberto. Man Pointing
1947


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman
1948


 

Giacometti Alberto.
The Chariot
1950


 

Giacometti Alberto. Dog
1951


 

Giacometti Alberto. Monumental Head
1960


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Tall Figure, III
1960


 

Giacometti Alberto.
Standing Woman


 

Giacometti Alberto. Tall Figure


 

Giacometti Alberto. Bust


 

Giacometti Alberto. Composition


 

Giacometti Alberto. Composition (Man and Woman)
1927


 

Giacometti Alberto. Composition


 

Giacometti Alberto. Composition


 

Giacometti Alberto. Woman


 

Giacometti Alberto. Head





Giacometti Alberto. Head





Giacometti Alberto. Head


 

Giacometti Alberto. Bust
 
 

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