Alberto Giacometti

Bust of Annette IV

1962, cast 1965

Alberto Giacometti 1901–1966
Original title
Buste d'Annette IV
Object: 578 × 236 × 218 mm, 13 kg
Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965

Display caption

This work belongs to a series of eight busts that Giacometti made of his wife Annette from 1962 to 1965. Although Annette was one of his most frequent sitters, Giacometti found himself approaching her anew each time she posed. The surfaces of the sculptures were heavily worked and he commented that ‘after three days of working she doesn’t resemble herself any more’. Giacometti’s obsessive approach to his work is reflected in his observation that ‘It’s rather an unusual thing for a person to spend more of his time trying to copy a head than living life’.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

Alberto Giacometti 1901-1966

T00778 Annette IV 1962

Inscribed 'Alberto Giacometti | 0/6' and 'Susse Fondeur Paris' on r. side, low down
Bronze, 23 x 9 1/4 x 9 (58.3 x 23.5 x 23)
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) with the aid of the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1965
Exh: 20th Century Portraits, National Portrait Gallery Exhibition Rooms, London, June-September 1978 (5, repr.)
Lit: Reinhold Hohl, Alberto Giacometti: Sculpture Painting Drawing (London 1972), p.185, repr. pp.263 and 267
Repr: Raoul-Jean Moulin, Giacometti Sculptures (Paris 1964), pl.24 (dated 1962-3)

This is a portrait of the artist's wife done from life and is one of eight busts of her, numbered from I, II, III to VIII, which he made in 1962. Photographs reproduced in Du, February 1962, pp.4-5 show him working on one of these with Annette in the background. A further bust, numbered IX, was made in 1964.

Annette, whom he met in Geneva during the war and married in 1949, posed to him a great number of times for paintings, drawings and sculptures, including some full-length standing figures.

This cast was made specially for the Tate after the close of the 1965 exhibition, which included the plaster.

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, p.283, reproduced p.283

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