Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure

Exhibition Website

Mar 18 2023 - Jun 18 2023

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) is widely acclaimed as a defining artist of modernism and of the 20th century. Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure explores the artist’s extraordinary and singular portrayals of the human figure.The exhibition investigates the creative process that led to Giacometti’s figures through sculpture, painting, and drawing. The works on view include Giacometti’s major achievements during the post-WWII years and represents the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in the Heartland.

The exhibition features around 100 objects by Giacometti, drawn from the extensive holdings of the Fondation Giacometti in Paris and complemented by the Nelson-Atkins’ own iconic Chariot (1950)—which will receive a new look at its relationship to Giacometti’s love of Ancient art. His lifelong study of art history eloquently speaks to his search for the absolute essence of the human form.

For Giacometti, the human figure was the essential conveyer of meaning. His figures are instantly recognizable, and therefore universal. Pared down to their essence with simple movements such as standing or walking, viewers can immediately recognize themselves and connect deeply with the sculptures. These figures resulted from a long process initiated in the 1920s and ‘30s and adapted after the Second World War.

Through broad thematic sections, the exhibition traces Giacometti’s development from young artist on the Swiss-Italian border through ambitious young artist in Paris responding to the art around him to his enduring post-war achievements. Along the way, viewers encounter his legendary studio space and discover the muses and models who meant most to him throughout his career. In addition, little-seen examples of paintings, drawings, and works on paper reveal the artist’s wide-ranging process, as he worked out the ideas that his acclaimed sculptures embody.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Image: Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, 1901 – 1966) The Chariot, 1950. Painted bronze. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, acquired from the Patsy and Raymond Nasher Collection. F99-33/7​​​

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