Alberto Giacometti

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Alberto Giacometti by Jan Hladík, 2002

Alberto Giacometti (10 October 1901 – 11 January 1966) was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman and printmaker.

Quotes[edit]

  • In every work of art the subject is primordial, whether the artist knows it or not. The measure of the formal qualities is only a sign of the measure of the artist's obsession with his subject; the form is always in proportion to the obsession.
    • Alberto Giacometti (1945), as cited in: Joel Shatzky, ‎Michael Taub (1999), Contemporary Jewish-American Dramatists and Poets. p. 302
  • Figures were never for me a compact mass but like a transparent construction.
    • Alberto Giacometti. Exhibition of sculptures, paintings, drawings. Pierre Matisse Gallery (New York, N.Y.), 1948. p. 36
  • There was a third element in reality that concerned me: movement.
Despite all my efforts, it was impossible for me then to endure a sculpture that gave an illusion of movement, a leg advancing, a raised arm, a head looking sideways. I could only create such movement if it was real and actual. I also wanted to give the sensation of motion that could be induced.
  • Alberto Giacometti in: Peter Selz, Alberto Giacometti. Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago [and others], distributed by Doubleday, 1965. p. 20
  • That's the terrible thing: the more one works on a picture, the more impossible it becomes to finish it.
    • Alberto Giacometti in: James Lord (1965), Giacometti Portrait, p. 11-12; as cited in: James Olney (1998), Memory and Narrative: The Weave of Life-Writing. p. 331
  • And then the wish to make compositions with figures. For this I had to make (quickly I thought; in passing), one or two studies from nature, just enough to understand the construction of a head, of a whole figure, and in 1935 I took a model. This study should take, I thought, two weeks and then I could realize my compositions...I worked with the model all day from 1935 to 1940...Nothing was as I imagined. A head, became for me an object completely unknown and without dimensions.
    • Alberto Giacometti in: Peter Selz, Alberto Giacometti. Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago [and others], distributed by Doubleday, 1965. p. 26
Alberto Giacometti at the 31° Venice Biennale in 1962, photographed by Paolo Monti.

Giacometti, 1985[edit]

Alberto Giacometti, quoted in: James Lord (1985), Giacometti: A Biography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1986.

  • Whores are the most honest girls. They present the bill right away. The others hang on and never let go.
    • As cited in: Kay Larson, "The thin man," New York Magazine, 7 October 1985, p. 70
  • One starts by seeing the person who poses, but little by little all the possible sculptures of him intervene... The more real a real vision of him disappears, the stranger his head becomes.
    • As cited in: Kay Larson, "The thin man," New York Magazine, 7 October 1985, p. 70

Quotes about Alberto Giacometti[edit]

  • It isn't necessary to make things large to make them monumental; a head by Giacometti one inch high would be able to vitalize this whole space.
    • Hans Hofmann As quoted in Can Painting be Taught by Dorothy Seckler, Art News No. 50 (March 1951), p. 64
  • I mean, the official definition of Surrealism is to make a work automatically without a priori aesthetic or moral conditions, which is exactly what we do [artist in New York School / Abstract Expressionism]. At the same time Surrealism was an assault, - with a few exceptions: Giacometti, Arp and Miro - on the 'purity' of painting. I mean mean, on making painting - means themselves speak, without reliance on literature; and that second insistence of Surrealism, Americans really rejected. So that historically.. .Abstract Expressionism is in part, I think, a fusion of certain Surrealist means, above all plastic 'automatism' with the Cubist's insistence that the picture speaks as a picture in strictly pictorial language.
    • Robert Motherwell, in an interview (March 1960) with David Sylvester, edited for broadcasting by the BBC first published in 'Metro', 1962; as quoted in Interviews with American Artists, by David Sylvester; Chatto & Windus, London 2001, p. 82
  • What I see is teeming cohesion, contained dispersal…. For him, to sculpt is to take the fat off space.
    • Jean-Paul Sartre, "Situations," in Braziller (1965): On Alberto Giacometti’s work

External links[edit]

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