Tate Modern presents the UK’s first major retrospective of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) for 20 years. The exhibition considers Giacometti’s place alongside the likes of Matisse, Picasso and Degas as one of the great painter-sculptors of the 20th century.
Tate Modern exhibition is one of the most comprehensive of the artist’s work bringing together over 250 works. It includes rarely seen plasters and drawings which have never been exhibited before and showcases the full range of Giacometti’s work across five decades. The exhibition had unparalleled access to the extraordinary collection and archive of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris.
Alberto Giacometti is perhaps most famous for his tall, thin, standing or walking sculptures which are highly sought after, a recent sale of a sculpture of the Swiss artist sold for 126 million dollars at an auction in New York.
Born in Switzerland in 1901, like many artists of his generation, he moved to Paris in the 1920s and mixed with many of leading artists, writers and thinkers in the French capital.
One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition is the way it shows how Giacometti used different artistic styles before finding his own style. Many of the early portraits and sculptures show either cubist, modernist or surreal tendencies but he gradually developed his own unique artistic view that defies easy categorisation. The exhibition also explores Giacometti’s preoccupation with Egyptian and African art with works such as Man (Apollo) 1929 and The Chariot 1950.
It was after the Second World War that Giacometti began to develop his single elongated figure which is often seen as a motif of alienation and despair. The exhibition features a wide range of works including well known pieces, Man Pointing 1947, Falling Man 1950 and The Hand 1947.
Whilst Giacometti is best known for his bronze figures, the exhibition features a wide range of drawings and paintings including Diego Seated 1948 and Caroline in a Red Dress c.1964-5.
Some of the least known of his works are those made from plaster and clay, a large number of fragile plaster works which rarely travel are being shown for the first time in this exhibition including Giacometti’s celebrated Women of Venice 1956 which was created for the Venice Biennale.
The exhibition illustrates that how family played a major part in Giacometti’s artist development, not only in support but often as models in the many portraits he painted in his career. His brother Diego was a particularly favourite sitter and the exhibition has a room dedicated to portraits of his mother, his wife Annette and favourite model Caroline.
This fascinating exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of Giacometti’s career and provides evidence of how he gradually developed a passion for his tall, thin, standing or walking sculptures. Although Giacometti achieved fame in the sixties as a sculptor, until recently he was not generally known by the wider public. Recent appraisals of his work have recognised his unique style and the wide appeal of his intensely observed images of the human face and figure.
See Video Review here
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
Giacometti at the Tate Modern
10 May – 10 September 2017
For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here
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