Artist: Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, Borgonovo 1901–1966 Chur)
Dimensions: 30 1/8 x 13 x 12 3/4 in. (76.5 x 33 x 32.4 cm)
Credit Line: Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998
Accession Number: 1999.363.22
Rights and Reproduction: © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
A sculptor and a painter, Alberto Giacometti was born into an artistic family in the small village of Borgonovo, north of Stampa, in the most Italian canton of Switzerland. From an early age, Alberto drew, painted, and modeled portrait heads, his brother Diego serving as his first sitter. Although, after 1946, he would devote himself equally to painting and sculpture, until then it was sculpture that took precedence.
By 1947, the artist had adopted what was to become his characteristic style, creating extremely thin and attenuated figures of three main themes: the walking man; the standing, nude woman; and the bust, or head-or all three, combined in various groupings. Without volume or mass, the figures appear weightless and remote, their eerie otherworldliness accentuated by the mat shades of gray and beige paint applied to their bronze patinas.
Giacometti designed the placement of these three walking men with the precision of a choreographer. Their steps are equally wide, and they do not look at one another.