Alberto Giacometti Swiss

Not on view

In this late portrait of his wife and principal model, Giacometti positioned the figure close to the picture plane, half-length and facing forward, framed by an abstract, gestural backdrop. With its expressive brushwork, the work may seem hastily executed; however, sitting for Giacometti was a time-intensive endeavor. Despite this, he never regarded any of his paintings—or sculptures—as finished. The artist’s long and careful painting process and frequent changes to the composition are especially apparent in the depiction of the face. After exhibiting a first version of this portrait in Paris in May 1961, Giacometti went back to rework the picture. According to Annette, he at first only wanted to change the nose, but subsequently turned her expression into the present wide-eyed stare while also retouching the background.

Annette, Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, Borgonovo 1901–1966 Chur), Oil on canvas

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