Standing Tall

Giacometti Drop Cap

Portrait–after 1960

The masterful sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti is beautifully celebrated in a show surveying his life and career at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City where the full spectrum of his prolific creations are on display.

Giacometti Image 1

Diego Standing in the Living Rom in Stampa–oil on canvas, 1922

This is my favorite show to date at this fabled institution. The entire collection is comprehensively curated by the museum’s Megan Fontanella and Fondation Giacometti’s Catherine Grenier; the works are simply luminous in the circular galleries progressing all the way to the top floor. The perfection of this exhibition lies in the fact that the artist and his work are contemporaries of the museum itself so the pieces are simpatico with the space and give an enriched sense of historical context.

The show is expansive, compelling and dazzling in its execution. In addition to myriad sculptures and paintings is a fascinating video excerpt from a 1966 documentary in which Giacometti sits with the poet Jacques Dupin while discussing his artistic mission and explaining his desire to fully capture in perfect totality his subjects, all the while working and reworking a sculpture. It’s an arresting and direct portrait of the artist and the man.

Giacometti Image 2

Spoon Woman–bronze, 1926-27

Actually, the man himself need say very little—his sculptures and paintings reveal his infinite and strenuous search. And the search is truly remarkable in its results.

Giacometti runs through September 12.

Giacometti Image 3

Cubist Composition II–plaster, 1927

Giacometti Image 4

Suspended Ball–plaster, painted metal, and string, 1930-31

Giacometti Image 5

After Three Funerary Figures from the New Hebrides–ink on paper, 1936

Giacometti Image 6

Small Head of Diego–plaster, 1936

Giacometti Image 7

The Nose–bronze, wire, rope, and steel, 1949

Giacometti Image 8

Figurine Between Two Houses–bronze, 1950

Giacometti Image 9

Bust of a Man–oil on canvas, 1951

Giacometti Image 10

Tall Thin Head–bronze, 1954

Giacometti Image 11

Tall Woman Seated–bronze, 1958

Giacometti Image 12

Left to right: Tall Woman IV–bronze, 1960-61; Monumental Head–bronze, 1960; Walking Man I–bronze, 1960