1962 was a good year for Alberto Giacometti. He received the grand prize for sculpture at the showcase for international art, the Venice Biennale; the highly respected Foundation Maeght published the first monograph of his work; and he watched the installation of his largest retrospective in his lifetime - 106 sculptures, 85 paintings and 100 drawings - at the Kunsthaus in Zurich. But 1963 turned Giacometti's world inside out. In February he underwent surgery for stomach cancer and his health rapidly declined. He died three years later.
In November 1963, nine months after his surgery, Giacometti printed a portfolio entitled 45 Drawings, a collection that reproduced selected drawings made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. It was as if Giacometti sought to retrace all his explorations and developments as an artist and then, to preserve them for eternity, defining his artistic legacy for future generations of scholars, collectors and students. In this portfolio, we see an artist reckoning with his mortality, his life's work and the inevitable process of letting go, a beautiful and poignant love letter to the creative process.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.