Go See: Alberto Giacometti Retrospective, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands, through February 8th, 2009

December 18th, 2008

Bust of Diego (1955) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

Alberto Giacometti left an indelible mark on 20th century sculpture, influencing two generations of artists since his death in 1966.  The Swiss sculptor and painter is so influential, in fact, that his likeness appears next to ‘Three Men Walking,’ one of his most famous works, on the Swiss 100 Franc bill.  Giacometti’s work is the focus of an extensive, large-scale retrospective at Kunstal Rotterdam, marking the first time the artist’s work is displayed in the Netherlands in over 20 years.  The exhibition, organized exclusively for the Kunsthal by the artist’s estate, covers his entire oeuvre of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, and is the latest installment in a series of retrospectives of major 20th century sculptors such as Hnery Moore, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Tinguely.

Giacometti, whose father was also a painter, studied art in Paris with Antoine Bourdelle, where he also later was inspired by his discovery of Cubism as well as art from Africa and the Pacific Islands, whose forms and aesthetic were a crucial influence for many of his contemporaries.  Later, Giacometti became an influential sculptor in the Surrealist movement, before melding his classical training and more modern experimentation to create groundbreaking representations of the human body and its fragility, the subject he has become best known for and which he continued to explore for the rest of his life and career.

through February 8th, 2009
Kunsthal Rotterdam
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Exhibition Page: Alberto Giacometti

more story and images after the jump…

Starting in 1936, Giacometti begins sculpting human heads, focusing on the model’s gaze; an acquaintance once remarked that if he sculpted you he would “make your head look like the blade of a knife.” Four years later he beings to experiment with elongated representations of the human body, borrowing from non-Western artistic traditions but also reflecting his desire to represent the world according to his own perception of it. Giacometti was notorious for working on pieces for years, or even decades, continuing to whittle down his pieces until they were barely thinner than nails. His brother Diego, wife Annette, and mistress Caroline were frequently the models for his works.

While still an accomplished sculptor, he attained broader fame late in his life after winning the grand prize for sculpture at the 1962 Venice Biennale, afew short years before his death. His works belong to almost every noteworthy museum and collection in the world: the Kunsthaus Zurich, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others. The show at the Kunstal Rotterdam will continue until February 9th, 2008.

Femme qui marche (1932) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

Composition: Man and Woman (1927) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

Annette IV (1962) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

Un femme debout (1958-9) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

Homme signalant (1947) by Alberto Giacometti, via the Tate Museum

The Couple (1927) by Alberto Giacometti, via Museum of Modern Art