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Alberto Giacometti

Norwich's Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts marks 100 years since Giacometti's birth

Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury's personal connection to Giacometti meant the committee had no trouble engaging lenders

As the first New York exhibition of works by Alberto Giacometti in over 30 years continues its run at the Museum of Modern Art, the centenary of the Swiss artist’s birth is being celebrated in Britain with an impressive exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich (until 9 December). The late Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury made friends with Giacometti and began collecting his work in 1949, so the exhibition focuses on his postwar works. The organisers have had crucial support from key people (including Bruno Giacometti, Alberto’s youngest brother) despite fierce competition in securing important loans from MoMA in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Kunsthaus in Zürich. Over 120 paintings, drawings and sculptures are on display, including sections of Giacometti’s Paris studio walls, on which he drew, painted and jotted notes and ideas. There is also a painting of Sir Robert Sainsbury, which remained in Giacometti’s studio until his death; a drawing of Matisse in the year he died (1954), a drawing of Braque on his deathbed, and two drawings and two sculptures of Isabel Rawsthorne, one of which—“Isabel Reclining,” 1940—is shown above. The exhibition was curated by the art historian Michael Peppiat, who was given a letter of introduction to Giacometti by Francis Bacon, but failed to meet him before he died. His catalogue includes the first full English translations of several texts written by the artist.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Giacometti 100th birthday bash in England'