Guggenheim Museum Presents Giacometti Exhibition

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents a major retrospective dedicated to the Swiss-born artist Alberto Giacometti, which runs from June 8 to September 12, 2018. The exhibition Giacometti encompasses the entirety of the artist’s career, featuring nearly 200 sculptures, paintings, and drawings, some of which have never before been shown in the United States, as well as archival photographs and ephemera.

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. He lived and worked mainly in Paris since 1922. In 1931, he joined the Surrealist Movement and developed a variety of different sculptural objects to explore themes derived from Freudian psychoanalysis. In the late 1930s, he became more interested in representing the human figure in a convincing illusion of real space. The issue of the human head was the central subject of Giacometti’s research.

Alberto Giacometti painting in his Paris studio, 1958

After World War II, he created some of his most well-known distinctive sculptures in reaction to the trauma and anguish of the war, including a series of elongated standing women, striding men and expressive bust-length portraits. They were subject to his individual viewing experience—between an imaginary yet real, a tangible yet inaccessible space.

Giacometti's L'Homme au doigt was sold for a record setting US$141.2m at Christie's in 2015

Giacometti holds the record of the world’s most expensive sculptor with his work L'Homme au doigt (‘pointing man’) which was sold for US$141.2m at Christie’s New York in 2015, setting the record for the artist and the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction. Prices for his late work have also skyrocketed above US$100m over the past decade.

Visitors to this fresh presentation on Giacometti will have the opportunity to view works from across his career, which largely was spent in France and spanned several decades and various mediums. Examples of his early production reveal his engagement with Cubism and Surrealism as well as African, Oceanic, and Cycladic art.

Alberto Giacometti. Caroline in a Red Dress (Caroline avec une robe rouge), ca. 1964–65

Alberto Giacometti. Surrealist Composition (Composition surréaliste), ca. 1933

The exhibition’s selection of Giacometti’s paintings and drawings demonstrates his attempt to capture the essence of humanity—an endeavour that is also apparent in his incessant sculptural investigations of the human body. Sculptures of various heights will be installed on pedestals in the round or set back into the museum’s walls.

Displayed in vitrines, a number of pocket-size figures and heads created immediately before and during World War II explore spatial concerns of perspective and distance that would become paramount to his work. Giacometti’s studio practice, a particular focus of the exhibition, is shown through rarely exhibited plaster sculptures. The artist painted some of these works or later cast them in bronze, but others’ intended medium was plaster. Rich historical photographs and ephemera, such as journals and sketchbooks containing drawings, also provide insight into Giacometti’s process and document his artistic development.

Highlights of the exhibition

Alberto Giacometti. Head of a Woman (Flora Mayo) (Tête de femme [Flora Mayo]), 1926

Alberto Giacometti. Spoon Woman (Femme cuillère), 1927 (cast 1954)

Alberto Giacometti. Suspended Ball (Boule suspendue), 1930–31

Alberto Giacometti. The Nose (Le nez), 1949 (cast 1964)

Alberto Giacometti. Dog (Le chien), 1951

Alberto Giacometti. Walking Man I (Homme qui marche I), 1960

Alberto Giacometti. Standing Nude on a Cubic Base (Nu debout sur socle cubique), 1953



Exhibition period: June 8 - September 12, 2018
Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rotunda

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

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