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Alberto Giacometti's retrospective exhibition

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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will host a special exhibition of Alberto Giacometti from October 19 to February 24, 2019. It will a great retrospective composed of more than 200 sculptures, paintings and drawings.

The retrospective, consisting of over 200 sculptures, paintings and drawings, has the support and numerous loans of the Giacometti Foundation in Paris.

This foundation has exceptional works of all phases of the Swiss artist: from his works of the youth of the twenties, passing through the post-Cubist and surrealist period, until the return to figuration in 1935, which will mark his artistic production until the end of his life.

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Alberto Giacometti brief biography

An exhibition, this one, dedicated to one of the most important and influential artist born in Switzerland, but with a Parisian heart.

Alberto Giacometti was born on 10 October 1901 in Stampa, near the Italian-Swiss border.

His father Giovanni was a famous exponent of Swiss post-impressionism who transferred his love and passion for art to his children and also to Alberto who, after graduating from the Geneva School of Arts and Crafts, moved to Paris in 1922 to study with the sculptor Émile-Antoine Bourdelle (a student of Rodin).

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Alberto Giacometti and Surrealism

Alberto Giacometti begins to become aware of the impossibility of reproducing reality as he perceives it, a theme that will become central to his art.

 In 1928 he joined the Surrealism but his continuous dissatisfaction led him to distance himself from the movement until he was expelled from the movement in 1935.

Montparnasse was his home and there he conceived most of the best known works, also coming into contact with a group of artists who went down in history as the Surrealists.

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Giacometti’s style

After the removal from Surrealism Alberto Giacometti has not exhibited for over ten years, but continues to work and it is in this period (between 1936 and 1940) that he realizes the sculptures that are already an anticipation of his mature style.

These pieces are characterized by the presence of a single subject isolated in space, and based on models that Giacometti knew personally, like his brother Diego, his friend and artist Isabelle Rawsthorne and his sister Ottilia.

Giacometti is also perfectly integrated into the European intellectual community and will have a tormented friendship with Pablo Picasso.

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The Success and the Crisis period

During the Second World War, Giacometti left Paris and moved to Geneva, where he met his future wife, Annette Arm, in 1943.

Returning to Paris in 1945, the artist began to sculpt his personal vision of the world, realizing his famous elongated figures, in 1946 and 1947.

In this period the long filiform figures of women are born, fragile shapes with fragmented contours, where the surrounding space seems to corrode the figures.

 Between 1948 and 1956 his fame is affirmed all over the world.

He exhibited in London, Paris, Zurich and Basel and in 1953 made his debut in theatrical scenography, drawing the only tree in the play "Waiting for Godot" by his friend Samuel Beckett.

 

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In 1956, Giacometti went through an artistic crisis, triggered by his obsession with Isaku Yanaihara, a Japanese philosopher who had posed for him.

The crisis lasts two years, until Giacometti meets Yvonne Poiraudeau, the prostitute known as Caroline.

This meeting marks the beginning of Giacometti's last artistic period, that of the "last portraits".

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The exhibition traces its life through works that come from the Giacometti Foundation in a journey that touches the Cubist and Surrealist periods, up to the 40s, and then ends with the latest works.

It will also be possible to admire the group of sculptures Femmes de Venise made in 1956 for the Venice Biennale.

For Giacometti art is something vital: "I certainly do painting and sculpture, and this has always been the case since the first time I drew or painted, to bite on reality, to defend myself, to nourish myself, to grow; grow to defend myself better, to attack better, to take hold, to advance, as possible at all levels, in all directions, to defend myself against hunger, against cold, against death, to be as free as possible".

 https://www.fondation-giacometti.fr/

Giacometti’s death

From 1958 to 1960 Alberto Giacometti painted about thirty portraits of Caroline.

The film Final Portrait describes perfectly Alberto Giacometti his inner torment and his style.

His final work is the series of 150 lithographs of all the places in which he had lived.

Alberto Giacometti died in 1966, leaving an infinite number of unfinished paintings in his studio.

  https://www.fondation-giacometti.fr/

Summary 

Exhibition title: Alberto Giacometti’s retrospective

Location: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Curators: Catherine Grenier and Petra Joos

Associate Curator: Mathilde Lecuyer-Maillé

Dates: 19 October 2018 – 24 February 2019

Info and tickets: https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/