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Alberto Giacometti

Giacometti's expressions of moment-to-moment mortal experience to be subject of centenary exhibition at the Fondation de l'Hermitage

While the retrospective spans every stage of his career, his portraits of Robert Sainsbury and other members of the Sainsbury Family constitute the focal point

Giacometti’s endless quest to grasp fleeting reality and artistically reproduce it with a painstaking exactitude is the subject of this exhibition (until 12 May), part of the centenary celebrations. It is curated by Juliane Cosandier, director of the foundation, and Sylvie Wuhrmann, its specialist advisor. Thirty-two of the works in this show come from the collection assembled in the post-war years by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, who became friends of the artist, buying his “Diego seated” (above) as early as 1949. Others have come from institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Collection Maeght, and a number of private collections. The works on show represent all three areas of Giacometti’s enterprise: painting, sculpture and, - the basis of all his art - drawing. The place of honour is given to the portrait of Robert Sainsbury, painted around 1955, but which lay in Giacometti’s studio unrecorded for many years. It is accompanied by seven portraits of the Sainsbury children and the exhibition includes photographs and film footage showing Giacometti at work. The organisation of the show is, however, chronological, showing the various phases of his career from the early 1920s, through his encounter with Surrealism in 1935, his small scale sculptures in the war years, to the 1950s which are covered in two rooms, one of which is dedicated to 150 of his lithographs of Paris.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Alberto Giacometti: mature works'