what texture did giacometti use on his sculptures
Installation view of the Women of Venice 1956 in Alberto Giacometti at Tate Modern
Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris
© Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017
Courtesy of Tate Photography
Giacometti returned to the depiction of the human head throughout his career. His subjects were the people to whom he felt closest, including his mother and father, his brother Diego, his wife Annette, and friends such as the philosopher Simone de Beauvoir. They sat for him for hours on end, but he would also work from memory. This opening room shows a selection of heads in different materials and styles, ranging from early naturalistic sculptures that Giacometti created as a teenager, such as Head of a Child [Simon Bérard] 1917–18, to works from the 1950s and 60s with their distinctive highly textured surfaces. Although many of his sculptures were eventually cast in bronze, Giacometti preferred to work with clay or in plaster, materials which he could form and shape with his own hands.
In February 2010 a record-setting art auction at Sotheby’s London resulted in a £65,001,250 ($104,327,006) sale for Giacometti’s sculpture Walking Man I (L’Homme Qui Marche). The 6-feet tall bronze depicts a man in mid-stride. The sale broke the previous $104,168,000 auction record, set in 2004 for Pablo Picasso‘s portrait Boy With a Pipe (1905). More than five times higher than its pre-sale estimate of £12m-18m, competitive bidding and scarcity of works by Giacometti were key factors in achieving the record price.
The Alberto Giacometti Foundation
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.
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.
This painting here named “Diego” shows a similarity of teh sculptures that Giacometti was doing. Looking at the face you can spot a very rough texture similar to the one used on the sculptures. However, as I mentioned above, the sculptures have no facial features but this painting does, it represents Alberto’s brother. Texture used on the face might represent the age of Diego, while he was in his late forties. Surrounded by dull dark olive green and tones of grey it gives a feeling of sadness considering the age of the subject it might reflect his feelings. As well the figure itself being done in greys and rough lines it gives a similar effect as the sculptures – dull, rough and alone. The facial expression used is no different to its surroundings it again gives feeling of sadness, the eyes seem tired, lips have no smile it is as if the person does not exist.
Giacometti worked on sculptures and paintings, he had an artistic background like some of the previous artists I mentioned as well as a different approach. Looking at the approach that Giacometti was using to create his work for both sculptures and paintings it was all elongated, long legs, bodies etc. He once said “the shadow that is cast” here he referred to the sculptures, that he didn’t model the people but the shadows they were casting – during sun down the shadows cast by the human body appear long. Alberto Giacometti was an expressionist artist, he would exaggerate the objects he painted the way he really saw them.
The exhibition’s first room precedes the chronological sequence with a display juxtaposing bust portrait sculptures in varying media and styles in neat, uniformly regulated rows on plinths of equal height, generally progressing from early to late from front to back. The installation acts as a synopsis for what is to come; Giacometti appears not to have progressed from one style and medium to another in a conventionally linear fashion, but produced at any one time naturalistic (though lightly stylized) portraits in the round as well as deliberately primitivist pieces, their features incised crudely into flattened surfaces. The familiarly mangled, elongated bronze figures emerge toward the back of this prologue display. The group appears like a theater of faces looking forward in unison; we are invited to walk all around and compare the styles and media, observing closely the physical marks and qualities of the differing materials. It is a bold curatorial decision that cleverly introduces what will become an overarching theme: the significance to Giacometti of the process of making and constant exploration as intrinsic to the artworks’ raison d’être.
LONDON — In April 2016, following the announcement of Tate Modern’s monumental new retrospective devoted to the Swiss sculptor, Alistair Sooke mused in the Telegraph: “What is it about Alberto Giacometti?” The National Portrait Gallery had recently closed its major Giacometti show, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich had opened its Alberto Giacometti: A Line Through Time, and it was only in 2015 that the Swiss sculptor’s “Pointing Man” (1947) became the most valuable sculpture to sell at auction, for $141 million. Though art historians and curators have in recent years sought to diversify the traditional canon of Great 20th Century Artists — i.e. predominantly white, male, and European or American — it is fair to say that Giacometti remains firmly categorized as one of those artists in the popular imagination. For many, his slender bronze figures are a shorthand for the wrought emotion and desolation caused by the horrors of war.