Art Index: Alberto Giacometti
Article written by Alessandro Berni on February 26, 2021
“Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won't know what it is until I succeed in doing it.”
- Alberto Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti (UK: /ˌdʒækəˈmɛti/, US: /ˌdʒɑːk-/, Italian: [alˈbɛrto dʒakoˈmetti]; 10 October 1901 – 11 January 1966) was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draftsman, and printmaker.
Famous for his slender and threadlike human figures, Giacometti was born in Borgonovo (Switzerland) in the middle of the Bregaglia Valley, to Giovanni, a neo-impressionist painter and Annetta Stampa.
Later he attended the École des Beaux-Arts and the École des Arts et Metiers in Geneva.
In 1921, after a substantially happy childhood, he moved to Rome to study the great masters of the past. His family members, impressed by his enormous talent, facilitated his education in every way possible.
During his studies, he became passionate about the work of Tintoretto and Giotto, became interested in the idea of an art free from intellectualism and stripped bare to its primitive origins.
In 1922, he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, an associate of Rodin. It was there that Giacometti experimented with Cubism and Surrealism and came to be regarded as one of the leading Surrealist sculptors. Among his associates were Miró, Max Ernst, Picasso, Bror Hjorth, and Balthus.
His first surrealist sculptures were exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries in 1927, putting him in the spotlight and accelerating his success. The positive reception gives him the opportunity to enter a more prestigious tour that allows him to come into contact with extraordinary artistic personalities such as Arp, Mirò, Ernst, and Picasso or writers such as Prévert, Aragon, Eluard, Georges Bataille, and Queneau.
During the same years he developed a strong partnership with Breton, the founder of the surrealist movement, for which he writes and draws in the magazine "Surrealism at the service of the revolution".
But Giacometti also felt the need to return to the theme of "absolute resemblance" and, after the death of his father in 1933, a period of new apprenticeship ended. From 1935 to 1940 he concentrated on the study of the head, starting from the gaze, the seat of thought. He also tried to draw entire figures, in an attempt to grasp the identity of individual human beings with a single glance. In this period he got close to Picasso and Beckett, and established a dialogue with Jean-Paul Sartre that would often influence the works of both. He spent the years of the Second World War in Geneva.
Back in Paris, a new artistic phase saw Giacometti stretch out the limbs of his subjects in a space that contained and completed them began, signaling a shift in vision.
In 1962 he received the Grand Prize in Sculpture at the Venice Biennale.
The last few years were characterized by a frenetic activity and a succession of major exhibitions throughout Europe. Although seriously ill, he traveled to New York in 1965 for his exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.
Giacometti died on January 11, 1966.
Today, Giacometti’s works are held in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Tate Gallery in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Kunsthaus Zürich, among others.
According to Artprice.net Giacometti’s turnover in 2020 is $59,762,167.
The oldest auction result ever registered on the website for an artwork by this artist is a sculpture-volume sold in 1983, at Christie's, and the most recent auction result is a lightings sold in 2021. Artprice.com's price levels for this artist are based on 5,036 auction results. Especially: print-multiple, drawing-watercolor, sculpture-volume, lightings, painting, objects, furniture, photography.
In 2015, the artist’s Pointing Man (1947), sold at auction for a record-breaking $142.8 million.
Most of his works were sold for < $5,000,000.
There are two artworks by the artist currently listed in upcoming public auctions:
After Alberto GIACOMETTI (1901-1966), Lampes ,Lot # 157
Resin, patine bronze/socle marbre
Estimate: $ 602 - $ 963
Vente XXe, 27 Feb 2021, Carvajal S.V.V.; 33, Boulevard Foch,06600 Antibes, France.
Manner of Alberto GIACOMETTI (1901-1966), Console table (c.1960), Lot #1021
Estimate: $800 - $1,200
Modern Design, 23 Feb 2021, Kamelot Auctions, 2216-2220 E. Allegheny Ave, 19134, Philadelphia PA, United States.