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Genet was among the leading French writers of the twentieth century. Seeing himself as an outsider, he celebrated his homosexuality and criminal past in his work. He also wrote a short book on Giacometti. Like many of Giacometti’s portraits, this work uses a reduced palette of colours, and gradually builds its likeness of Genet with a series of small tentative brushstrokes. This technique creates a tense, shifting outline around the figure, which parallels the rough, highly-worked surfaces of Giacometti’s sculptures.

November 2005