Alberto Giacometti biography in Biographies from the artzine on artrepublic.com

Giacometti was a popular artist and sculptor renowned for his complete dedication to his work. He is best known for is sculptures of the human form, stretched out with elongated limbs.

Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, Switzerland in 1901. His father was a Post-Impressionist painter who encouraged his son’s interest in the arts. From 1919 to 1920, Giacometti studied painting, sculpture and drawing in Geneva. In 1920, he travelled to Italy, where he was impressed by the works of Alexander Archipenko and Paul Cézanne at the Venice Biennale. He was also deeply affected by African and Egyptian art.

In 1922 he moved to Paris to study with his brother Diego, his lifelong companion and assistant. Living amidst the creative community of Montparnasse, he began to associate with artists Joan Miro, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso. It was at this point he started writing and drawing for his magazine Le surréalisme au Service de la Révolution and he began to establish himself as a leading sculptor of the Surrealist movement.

From 1935 to 1940 Giacometti abandoned Surrealism and concentrated his sculpting on the human head, focusing on the person's gaze. This was followed by a new and unique artistic phase in which his statues became stretched out, their limbs elongated. During World War II, he moved to Geneva where he met Annette Arm and in 1946 they returned to Paris where they were married. Marriage appeared to have been good for Giacometti because this next period was one of his most productive. He soon had a number of exhibitions in both Paris and New York.

A perfectionist, Giacometti was obsessed with creating his sculptures exactly as he visioned them. However because of his drive for perfection, they all ended up being small and thin. After his marriage, he was able to make tiny sculptures larger, but the larger that they grew, the thinner they became. In 1962, he was awarded the grand prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennial, and the award brought with it worldwide celebrity.

In 1965, despite his failing health he travelled to New York to attend an exhibition of his works in the New York Museum of Modern Art. He died in 1966. “To my terror the sculptures became smaller and smaller… and tirelessly I began again, only to end up, a few months later, at the same point.” Alberto Giacometti.

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