Alberto Giacometti

Seated Man

1949

Original title
Homme assis
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 800 x 540 mm
frame: 859 x 597 x 75 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1949
Reference
N05909

Display caption

Like his sculptures, Giacometti’s portraits emerged from an intense scrutiny of his subjects, and a process of continually reworking the image in order to record his shifting visual impressions. Seated Man depicts his brother Diego, one of Giacometti’s most frequent models, but even this familiar face became an object of investigation and discovery for the artist, who commented ‘When he poses for me I don’t recognise him’.

Gallery label, July 2012

Catalogue entry

Alberto Giacometti 1901-1966

N05909 Homme assis (Seated Man) 1949

Inscribed 'Alberto Giacometti' b.r. and 'Alberto Giacometti 1949' on back of canvas
Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 21 1/4 (80 x 54)
Purchased from the artist (Benson Fund) 1949
Exh: Alberto Giacometti: Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Arts Council Gallery, London, June-July 1955 (40)
Lit: Francis Hoyland, 'Giacometti's "Seated Man" ' in The Listener, LXXI, 1964, pp.513-15, repr. p.513
Repr: Herbert Read, A Concise History of Modern Painting (London 1959), pl.151; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery (London 1966), p.176 in colour

The sitter is the artist's brother Diego. Born in 1902, Diego became an artisan and shared Alberto Giacometti's life and work from 1925 onwards as his assistant, model and closest friend. He posed for his brother a great number of times for paintings, sculptures and drawings. There are several other paintings very similar in composition to this work.

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.279-80, reproduced p.279

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