Alberto Giacometti

  • Born 1901 in Borgonovo, Switzerland
  • Died 1966 in Chur, Switzerland

The sculptor Alberto Giacometti began his formal training in 1919 at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) and the École des Arts Industriels (School of Industrial Arts), both in Geneva. During the early 1920s he traveled in Italy and afterward moved to Paris where, from 1922 onward, he studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He established his first studio in Paris in 1925 and showed an early interest in the traditional arts of Africa and Oceania. In the 1930s Giacometti joined the surrealist movement and created his “Objects” series, tactile sculptures charged with energy and symbolism. Giacometti’s enduring involvement with the human figure eventually led to his dissociation from the surrealists in 1935. He attained his mature style in the late 1940s, characterized by slim, elongated figures, captured in seemingly banal upright postures (standing, walking, sitting). In those sculptures he expressed his distinct perspective on spatial relations by isolating the figures from the spectators’ space, by means of pedestals or cages. Giacometti’s works have been presented in countless exhibitions and he is one of the best-known sculptors of the twentieth century. His many honors include the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale (1962) and the Guggenheim International Award for Painting (1964).