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Between 1938 and 1944, Giacometti's sculptures had a maximum height of seven centimetres. Their small size reflected the actual distance between the artist's position and his model. In this context, he self-critically stated: "But wanting to create from memory what I had seen, to my terror the sculptures became smaller and smaller." After the Second World War, Giacometti created his most famous sculptures: his extremely tall and slender figures. These sculptures were the subject to his individual visual experience - between an imaginary yet real, a tangible yet inaccessible space.

Alberto Giacometti (* 10 October 1901 in Borgonovo, municipality of Stampa; † 11 January 1966 in Chur) was a Swiss modernist sculptor, painter and graphic artist who lived and worked mainly in Paris from 1922. Giacometti was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. His work was particularly influenced by artistic styles such as Cubism and Surrealism. Philosophical questions about the human condition as well as existential and phenomenological debates played a significant role in his work. Around 1935 gave up on his Surrealist influences in order to pursue a more in-depth analysis of figurative compositions. Giacometti wrote texts for magazines and exhibition catalogues and recorded his thoughts and memories in notebooks and diaries. His critical nature led to self-doubt about his own work and his self-perceived inability to live up to his own artistic vision. His insecurities nevertheless remained a powerful motivating artistic force throughout his life.


Alberto Giacometti


Bronze, 180,5 x 27,0 x 97,0 cm
 Collection Fondation Alberto & Annette Giacometti
 © Bridgeman Images
 Alberto Giacometti © Alberto Giacometti Estate / ADAGP/ Bildrecht, Wien 2021

227 | The Walking Man I (L’Homme qui marche I ), Der schreitende Mann I, 1960

Oil on canvas, 50,0 x 40,0 cm 
 Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland
 © Hans Hinz – ARTOTHEK
 Alberto Giacometti © Alberto Giacometti Estate / ADAGP/ Bildrecht, Wien 2021

228 | Portrait d‘Annette à la blouse jaune (Bildnis von Annette mit gelber Bluse), 1964



In Giacometti's oeuvre, his painting constitutes only a small part. After 1957, however, his figurative paintings were just as present as his sculptures. His almost monochrome paintings of his late work do not refer to other artistic styles of modernism. From 1966 to 1993, Annette Giacometti devoted her entire life to defending her husband's oeuvre without talking about it to the media. Annette Arm (1923-1993) met Giacometti in Geneva in 1943 and became his wife in 1949. From 1946, when they settled in Paris (they moved to Rue Hippolyte-Maindron in 1947) until the end, Annette was one of Alberto's favourite models. The sheer number of sculptures, paintings and drawings - whether portraits, nudes or studies - can only be compared with those that Alberto made of his brother Diego.

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