Alberto Giacometti (10 October 1901 – 11 January 1966) was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Alberto Giacometti was born in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and came from an artistic background; his father, Giovanni, was a well-known Post-Impressionist painter. Alberto was the eldest of four children and was interested in art from the beginning of his life.
Man reading a Book
Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, now part of the Swiss municipality of Stampa, near the Italian border. His father, Giovanni Giacometti, was a painter. Alberto attended the School of Fine Arts in Geneva. In 1922 he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, an associate of Auguste Rodin. It was there that Giacometti experimented with cubism and surrealism and came to be regarded as one of the leading surrealist sculptors. Among his associates were Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso and Balthus.
Portrait of Peter Watson
Between 1936 and 1940, Giacometti concentrated his sculpting on the human head, focusing on the sitter's gaze. He preferred models he was close to, his brother and the artist Isabel Rawsthorne (then known as Isabel Delmer). This was followed by a unique artistic phase in which his statues of Isabel became stretched out; her limbs elongated. Obsessed with creating his sculptures exactly as he envisaged through his unique view of reality, he often carved until they were as thin as nails and reduced to the size of a pack of cigarettes, much to his consternation. A friend of his once said that if Giacometti decided to sculpt you, "he would make your head look like the blade of a knife." After his marriage to Annette Arm his tiny sculptures became larger, but the larger they grew, the thinner they became. Giacometti said that the final result represented the sensation he felt when he looked at a woman.