Born. 10.10.1901 in Borgonovo/Bregaglia
Died. 11.01.1966 in Chur
Swiss artist, Graphic artist and sculptor, modernist
About the artist
Alberto Giacometti was born on 10 October 1901 in Borgonovo, Switzerland. He was the eldest of four children and his father Giovanni Giacometti was a well-known post-Impressionist painter who encouraged Alberto and his brothers to follow their interest in art. After finishing school he attended the Geneva School of Fine Arts.
In 1922, he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Experimenting with Cubism and Surrealism he produced surrealist sculptures that were highly regarded.
In the late 30s, Giacometti concentrated his sculpting on the human head, with the main focus on facial expression. His small sculptures eventually had bodies but the limbs were drawn out to be long and thin an expression of his view of reality.
Giacometti moved to Switzerland during WWII and met Annette Arm in 1946 whom he married three years later.
His sculptures grew increasingly in size but the thin elongated forms remained, often getting thinner and thinner. Although his wife modelled for him, the result was not a good representation after being constantly altered. It was during this period that he created his most famous extremely tall and slender sculptures.
Giacometti spent a great deal of time writing. He wrote texts for periodicals and exhibition catalogues as well as his ideas, thoughts, and memories in notebooks. A lack of achievement and a feeling of not being able to reach his personal goal motivated him throughout his life.
During the 1950s he spent as much time painting as he did on his sculptures using his particular monochromatic style.
In 1958 Giacometti was asked to create a monumental sculpture for the Chase Manhattan Bank building in New York. He started working on 4 large sculptures of women standing. Unfortunately, the project was not completed as he could not envision how the sculptures would fit in at the location.
In 1962, Giacometti was awarded the grand prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennale, and the award brought with it worldwide fame.
Giacometti’s works were being shown in exhibitions throughout Europe and increasing in popularity. In 1965, he traveled to the United States for an exhibition of his works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York a difficult trip as his health was deteriorating.
Giacometti died from heart disease on 11 January 1966 in Chur, Switzerland. His body was returned to his birthplace in Borgonovo, where he was interred close to his parents.