Alberto Giacometti

Tall Figure II


Not on display

Alberto Giacometti 1901–1966
Original title
Grande figure II
Object: 1680 × 159 × 340 mm
Presented by the artist 1965

Display caption

Giacometti’s fragile, elongated figures were seen as reflecting the precariousness and absurdity of life in the inhospitable landscape of war-scarred Europe. For his part, Giacometti insisted that he was attempting to convey his own experience of looking at people. However, this concern with visual truth was always fraught with uncertainty and doubt. He often reworked his sculpture over long periods before casting them in bronze, building up the clay model, then stripping it down, rebuilding and stripping again, as he gradually eroded the outline of the body to its essential core.

Gallery label, December 2005

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Catalogue entry

Alberto Giacometti 1901-1966

T00780 Femme debout (Standing Woman) 1948-9

Inscribed 'Alberro Giacometri' on top of base l., '0/6' on l. side of base and 'Susse Fondeur Paris' on back of base
Bronze, 66 1/8 x 6 1/4 x 13 3/8 (168 x 16 x 34)
Presented by the artist 1965
Exh: Alberto Giacometti: Sculpture Paintings Drawings 1913-65, Tate Gallery, July-August 1965 (36, repr.); Giacometti-Udstillingen, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, September-October 1965 (34, repr.)
Lit: Reinhold Hohl, Alberto Giacometti: Sculpture Painting Drawing (London 1972), pp.139, 169, repr. p.118
Repr: Jacques Dupin, Alberto Giacometti (Paris 1962), pp.246-7

This work was done from memory; according to David Sylvester, the hair style is based on that worn by Isabel Lambert. It was first exhibited in plaster in the André Masson - Alberto Giacometti exhibition at the Kunsthalle, Basle, in May-June 1950 (104, repr.) with the date 1948, then in bronze in Giacometti's exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, in November 1950 with the date 1949, and is one of his best-known and most important standing figures. As Reinhold Hohl points out, it may be said to typify the change in Giacometti's image of woman from that of an object and plaything (as in 'Man, Woman, Child' 1931 or 'Woman with her Throat cut' 1932) to that of an inviolate being like an idol.

It has also been known as 'Tall Figure' and 'Large Standing Woman'.

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.279, reproduced p.279


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