Giacometti at the Tate Modern

Alberto Giacometti was one of the great painter-sculptors of the 20th century. His singular Art always moves me. I like the way Giacometti was in constant search for new ways of expressing movement or feelings in his art. I was literally captivated by the sculptures and paintings I saw at The Tate Modern, some of which I discovered.

A restless innovator

Pierre Matisse
Giacometti working on Four Figurines on a Stand at the Tate Gallery,1965  © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2017

Giacometti was born and raised in Switzerland. He has always been surrounded by art, as his father was a post-impressionist painter. He even made drawings in his father’s art books, which you can see at the exhibition.
Bust of Diego c.1956 Plaster 37.3 x 21.5 x 13 cm – Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris – © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017
The first works of art I saw from Giacometti were his sculptures. The artist liked to try different materials: plaster and clay (his favorites, because easier to shape) or bronze (when he could afford it).
The opening room is dedicated to the many heads he made of relatives. I was stunned by some of them, with their narrow faces which however express much of the model’s physical details. What Giacometti couldn’t show in the front, he created it in the sides, prompting an odd feeling: when you turn around the sculpture, wether you look at the front or at the side, you have the impression to see a totally different face !


Diego Seated 1948 – Oil paint on canvas 80.5 x 65 cm – Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich
© Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

Alberto portrayed his brother Diego many times. He was his most significant model, as well as the artist’s wife, Anette. There is a film showing Alberto painting. He always “scrutinized his models, framing them in a flurry of lines and brush marks, continuously painting, overpainting and repainting”.
The result is so singular and reveals Giacometti’s difficulty to end his paintings. He apparently was rarely satisfied with them… But they are a proof of his real sensitivity.

Decorative art

 Suspended Ball 1930-1931 Plaster and metal 60.6 x 35.6 x 36.1 cm
Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris
© Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

To earn a living in the 1930s, Giacometti created decorative objects such as lamps, vases or even jewellery, which were featured in magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar. The exhibition showcases some of these objects, which belong to the abstract period of the artist.

Elongated figures

Woman of Venice III 1956 Bronze 118.5 x 17 x 35.1 cm
Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris
© Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

The elongated sculptures are maybe Giacometti’s best known artworks. But he only produced them after the war in Paris.
He said about them : “I wanted to hold on to a certain height, and they became narrow … the more I wanted to make them broader, the narrower they got”.
These sculptures had a great success and Giacometti was exhibit in New York and London at that time.

This exhibition will satisfy all Giacometti’s fans as well as those unfamiliar with the artist: it traces the different periods of the artist’s life and career, also his artistic influences (especially Egyptian Art), and his relations with the surrealists. Enjoy!

To find out more:
Tate Modern: Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
Fondation Alberto Giacometti : website

6 thoughts on “Giacometti at the Tate Modern

  1. elialand says:
    I like Giacometti because I always thought that his works were looking like question marks running for our time! thank you for the visit!

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