“I paint and sculpt to get a grip on reality… to protect myself.”
Alberto Giacometti (1901 – 1966)
Giacometti was born on 10th October, 1901, in Stampa, Switzerland, near the Italian border. He was the eldest of four children fathered by Giovanni Giacometti, a well-known Post-Impressionist painter, and a descendant of Protestant refugees escaping the Inquisition.
Giacometti began his early foundation in art learning from family members before pursuing formal training at École des Arts-et-Métiers Geneva. After spending some time travelling through Italy, he studied at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière in Paris from 1922 to 1925. He shared a studio in Paris with his brother Diego from 1925 to 1927, before starting to work alone.
It was in the 1920’s that he began to develop his personal style, creating abstract sculptures that showed the influence of Cubism and Tribal art. Giacometti’s work of the 1930’s probably represents the most important contribution to Surrealist sculpture. He later separated from the group, and became focused on new ways to express the human form. His thin, figurative sculptures appeared to represent people alone in the world, unable to communicate with others. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, his work continued to evolve and he produced an extensive series of portraits and also provided illustrations for various books. After receiving several awards, honours and retrospective exhibitions, and achieving international fame, Giacometti died in 1966.