Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, Switzerland, and spent most of his working life in Paris. The artist worked in many media including painting, printmaking, and sculpture, drawing inspiration from surrealism and cubism, but is mainly remembered for his small-scale sculptural works.
Giacometti’s studio looks like a space of well-ordered chaos. The artist, pictured sitting and contemplating one of his sculptures, looks quite serious – perhaps it’s a product of the era in which the photo was taken, but all the same, I can certainly imagine Giacomatti taking his work so seriously. The artist was known for being quite critical of his own practice, and he tended to approach his art with a sense of precision.
The sculptures in the studio seem to spill out over every surface, and there’s a great mottled, plaster-covered texture to the whole space. Giacometti himself looks as though he might be sketching a rendition of one of his figures onto a canvas.
The rough texture of Giacometti’s sculptures reminds me of work by Thomas Houseago. Giacometti’s works seem to take over the space completely, leaving little room for even the artist. Giacometti’s sculptures became generally smaller as his career went on, emulating the smaller scale at which he saw his models from a distance. Given these larger sculptures, I would guess that this photo was taken while the artist was still in the earlier stages of his career.
Giacometti’s artworks remained highly influential after the artist’s death in 1966, with many scholars focusing on the artist’s own writing about his struggles to conceptualize the human figure. The artist’s face even appeared on a version of the 100 Swiss franc banknote.