ROTTERDAM.- With a large-scale retrospective, the Kunsthal will be honouring one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). For the first time in over twenty years, the artists multifaceted oeuvre comprising sculptures, paintings and drawings will be on display in the Netherlands. Alongside his famous works of fragile human figures, the exhibition will also feature works never before exhibited in the Netherlands, including sculptures, paintings and sketches. The exhibition that is organised exclusively for the Kunsthal and in close collaboration with the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, shows the development of Giacomettis oeuvre and follows on from a successful series in which the Kunsthal has presented the work of leading 20th century sculptors, including Jean Tinguely (2007), Henry Moore (2006) and Isamu Noguchi (2003).
In 1922, Alberto Giacometti moved to Paris, where he studied under Antoine Bourdelle at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière. Influenced by sculptors such as Jacques Lipchitz and Ossip Zadkine Giacometti becomes acquainted with Cubism and begins to experiment with composition. The moment he breaks away from these artists and initial role models, he discovers African art, a significant source of inspiration to many artists of his time. The mix of influences, taken from his classical education, Cubism and primitive art led to his first large-scale female figures, including Femme cuillère. Until 1935 Giacometti makes surrealist works and is considered to be one of the most influential artists of this movement. After this period Giacometti starts working in a more and more concentrated way on the theme that would predominantly occupy his mind for the rest of his life: the representation of the human body.
Human Figures and Portraits
Of all the artists that have influenced Giacometti, it is Jacob van Ruysdael and Rembrandt van Rijn, an artist whose work he copied a lot during his youth, who occupy a special place. Derain and Cézanne are Giacomettis most important masters. When Giacometti moves on from Surrealism in 1935 they are the ones to lead him the way and he manages to gradually discover and develop his personal expressive signature. During the war he meets his wife-to-be and muse Annette Arm. He regularly portrays her together with her brother Diego, mistress Caroline and other models from his circle of acquaintances, amongst whom Jean-Paul Sartre en Simone de Beauvoir. Giacometti considers over and over again as to how to capture something that is continuously moving and subject to change. Thus the famous, extraordinarily thin human figures are created that either stand still or that desolately move through space, being either big or so small that they are hardly recognizable as human.