alberto giacometti born
Borgonovo/Schweiz 1901 –
“Joan Mirу. Lithographe. Bd. I-III”
Since Giacometti achieved exquisite realism with facility when he was executing busts in his early adolescence, Giacometti’s difficulty in re-approaching the figure as an adult is generally understood as a sign of existential struggle for meaning, rather than as a technical deficit.
Between 1938 and 1944 Giacometti’s sculptures had a maximum height of seven centimeters (2.75 inches).  Their small size reflected the actual distance between the artist’s position and his model. In this context he self-critically stated: “But wanting to create from memory what I had seen, to my terror the sculptures became smaller and smaller”.  After World War II, Giacometti created his most famous sculptures: his extremely tall and slender figurines. These sculptures were subject to his individual viewing experience—between an imaginary yet real, a tangible yet inaccessible space. 
Having abandoned any resemblance to realism in his work during the period 1925–29, he continued the abstraction trend in the period 1930–32, but he began working in a distinctly Surrealist fashion as well, attempting to express unconscious desires in erotically charged works such as Suspended Ball and The Palace at 4 A.M. In 1933–34, still working with Surrealism, Giacometti—whose beloved father had died in 1933—attempted metaphorical compositions using the themes of life and death in Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object) and 1 + 1 = 3. Giacometti lamented that his serious works of art had as little reference to reality as the merely decorative vases and lamps that he made to earn a living. Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object) (1934), with its clear, though stylized, female form, already shows his interest in moving toward realism. After an acrimonious break with the Surrealist group in 1935, he began to work after nature again. What had started as mere studies became a lifelong pursuit: the phenomenological approach to reality—that is, the search for the given reality in what one sees when one is looking at a person.
Between 1922 and 1925 Giacometti studied at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière in Paris. Although he owed much to his teacher, Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, his style was very different. It was related to the Cubist sculpture of Alexander Archipenko and Raymond Duchamp-Villon and to the Post-Cubist sculpture of Henri Laurens and Jacques Lipchitz. In Torso (1925), for example, Giacometti merged the Classical tradition with the avant-garde and reduced the human body to a grouping of geometric shapes which, together, capture the contrapposto posture. He was also inspired by African and Oceanic art—as in The Spoon-Woman (1926), in which the figure’s torso takes on the shape of a ceremonial spoon. It was his flat slablike sculptures, however, such as Observing Head (1927/28), that soon made him popular among the Paris avant-garde.
Giacometti occasionally returned to figural themes in the 1930s and early 1940s, as in Nude, Femme qui marche (1933-1934), the first of the elongated torsos, and Woman with Chariot I (1942-1943). The latter work, evocative and immobile, is an extension of the expressive qualities stated in the major work of this period: the surrealist constructions of 1929 to 1945.
Giacometti lived in Switzerland from 1942 until 1945, when he returned to Paris. In Switzerland he met Annette Arm, who became his wife.
Alberto Giacometti was born in 1901 in the mountain hamlet of Borgonovo, in eastern Switzerland. He was the first of four children born to Giovanni Giacometti, a Post-Impressionist painter, and Annetta Giacometti-Stampa, whose family was among the area’s prominent land owners. In addition to his father, several members of Giacometti’s extended family were artists, including Augusto Giacometti (second cousin to both Giovanni and Annetta), who was a Symbolist painter, and Cuno Amiet, Alberto’s godfather and a close family friend, who was a Fauvist.
In May 1920, Giacometti traveled to Italy with his father, where he viewed paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto at the Venice Biennale, Giotto’s frescoes in Padua, and ancient Egyptian art at the Archeological Museum in Florence. Soon after, he moved to Paris, where he enrolled in several art classes, and later he began to be attracted to Cubism and primitive art. In 1926 he exhibited his very first major bronze sculpture work, the idol-like Spoon Woman (1926-27), at the Salon des Tuileries.