Artist biography

Alberto Giacometti 1901-1966

School of Paris sculptor, painter and draughtsman born in the village of Borgonovo near Stampa, Switzerland, son of the Post-Impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti. Began to draw, paint and sculpt at an early age. Studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva 1919-20 and in Italy 1920-1. Moved in 1922 to Paris where he first studied in Archipenko's studio, then for five years at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière under Bourdelle. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Aktuaryus, Zurich, 1927. Went through a period of intense restlessness in which he experimented with polychrome sculpture, cages, erotic kinetic objects, near-abstraction and other styles. Participated in the Surrealist movement 1930-5. Began in 1934-5 to work again from the model, but each sculpture became smaller and smaller, and was finally almost always destroyed; had no exhibition between 1935 and 1947. Lived 1941-5 in Geneva, then returned to Paris. His characteristic style dates from 1947 when he started to make figures which were very tall and thin. Awarded the First Prize for Sculpture at the Pittsburgh International in 1961, the main prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennale 1962, and the Guggenheim International Award for Painting 1964. Died at Chur in Switzerland.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.274-5