Best known for the sculptures of attenuated and often isolated standing and walking figures he produced from the 1940s onward, Giacometti began his artistic exploration of existentially fraught subjects in the previous decade with works such as Head/Skull. Here, he reimagines the ephemeral human skull in a fixed, crystalline form, replacing the curvature of the head with flat planes and sharp facets to evoke the fleeting nature of life. The artist’s interest in psychologically disruptive imagery tied his work to the movement known as Surrealism.
Sylvia Slifka, New York (until d. 2003; her estate, 2003–4; her bequest to MMA)
E. Tériade. "Aspects actuels de l'expression plastique." Minotaure no. 5 (December 15, 1934), ill. p. 42 (unknown cast), calls it "Téte d’homme".
Reinhold Hohl. Alberto Giacometti: A Retrospective Exhibition. Exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, 1974, pp. 40, 73, no. 35, ill. (not this cast), calls it "Cubist Head (Tête cubiste)".
Valerie J. Fletcher. Alberto Giacometti, 1901–1966. Exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Washington, D. C., 1988, pp. 32, 65, 106 under no. 22.