(1901 – 1966), Switzerland

Alberto Giacometti Biography

Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. His distinctive style and close alignment with the significant art historical and philosophical movements of the time made him one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. Throughout his life, he was preoccupied with the quest of most accurately representing reality as it is experienced by the individual, drawing on themes of vision, matter, and meaning.

Read More

Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, Switzerland, as the son of a post-Impressionist painter. Encouraged by his family, he moved to Paris in 1922, where he took classes under Antoine Bourdelle, himself a student of Auguste Rodin. During this period he was exposed to the avantgarde currents of Cubism and Surrealism. His abstracted, dream-like sculpture Gazing Head (1928–1929) exemplified his interest in the representation of inner experiences, such as dreams and memories, and resulted in his induction into the Surrealist inner circle.

From 1935, Giacometti became increasingly preoccupied with figurative representation. Expelled from the Surrealist group, he embarked on a range of sculptural experimentations, attempting to synthesise reality into a singular, essential form. He developed three motifs—the walking man, the standing female nude, and the bust—in this fragile, attenuated style.

Giacometti produced major work that drew him international acclaim following World War II. Tall Figure and The Walking Man (both 1947) are towering, slender figures whose size and unfinished surfaces place them in the viewer's space while remaining in an inaccessible, ephemeral realm. Such thin figures, bound to weighty pedestals, were seized upon by proponents of Existentialist thought as encapsulating the alienation of post-war Europe.

In 1953, Giacometti turned away from his thin figures to a greater concern for lifelike accuracy. In 1956, he produced his 'Woman of Venice' works for the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. With an increased corporeality, the 15 female nudes acted as a summary of his stylistic progression to date. The artist's final years were studded with retrospectives and accolades. He continued to work on both sculpture and painting, largely producing portraits and busts of his close acquaintances.

Giacometti first exhibited his sculptures at Salon des Tuileries in Paris, 1927. His first solo exhibition was at Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris (1932), and his first solo exhibition in the United States was at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York (1935). His work was exhibited in retrospectives at the Arts Council Gallery, London, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1955, and at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, in 1956.

Giacometti was awarded the Carnegie Prize in Sculpture in 1961, and the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1962. In 1965, major exhibitions of his work were held by Tate London, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek. In the same year, he was honoured with the Grand Prix National des Arts by the French government. He died of heart complications in 1966.

Alena Kavka | Ocula | 2021

Alberto Giacometti
featured artworks

Femme nue de face à mi-corps by Alberto Giacometti contemporary artwork print
Alberto Giacometti Femme nue de face à mi-corps, 1954-55 Etching
28 x 19.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Request Price & Availability
Composition (Pour A. Jakovski) by Alberto Giacometti contemporary artwork print
Alberto Giacometti Composition (Pour A. Jakovski), 1935 Etching
32 x 24 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris Request Price & Availability
Tête de femme by Alberto Giacometti contemporary artwork sculpture
Alberto Giacometti Tête de femme, c. 1933 Bronze with a black patina
Bailly Gallery Request Price & Availability
Tête noire (Dark Head) by Alberto Giacometti contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Alberto Giacometti Tête noire (Dark Head), 1957–1962 Oil on canvas
100 x 65 cm
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
Arbre by Alberto Giacometti contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Alberto Giacometti Arbre, 1952 Pencil on paper
51.1 x 34.4 cm
Bailly Gallery Request Price & Availability
The Search by Alberto Giacometti contemporary artwork print
Alberto Giacometti The Search, 1968 Restrike etching
25.4 x 20.3 cm
Dellasposa Gallery Request Price & Availability

Alberto Giacometti
recent exhibitions

View 4 More
View 4 More

Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, United States
Gagosian Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris +6
View 4 More

Alberto Giacometti in
Ocula Magazine

Learn more about the market for works
by Alberto Giacometti.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

Alberto Giacometti in
Ocula Advisory

Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Alberto Giacometti
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login