Alberto Giacometti

Overview

Alberto Giacometti, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, was also one of the most enigmatic. In this major new interpretation of Giacometti and his work, art historian and psychoanalyst Laurie Wilson demonstrates how the artist's secret beliefs and emotional scars are reflected in his evocative sculpture, drawings, and paintings.

Wilson's Giacometti was an extremely imaginative child who entwined fantasy and real-life experiences. As he matured, the artist...

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Overview

Alberto Giacometti, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, was also one of the most enigmatic. In this major new interpretation of Giacometti and his work, art historian and psychoanalyst Laurie Wilson demonstrates how the artist's secret beliefs and emotional scars are reflected in his evocative sculpture, drawings, and paintings.

Wilson's Giacometti was an extremely imaginative child who entwined fantasy and real-life experiences. As he matured, the artist combined fact and fancy into evolving myths, part conscious and part unconscious. Drawing on biographical data uncovered during a decade of research, Wilson reconstructs traumatic events and issues in Giacometti's life-including family births and deaths in early childhood, world wars and their aftermath, and his intense and ambivalent relationship with his parents-and examines their profound effects on his artistic evolution. These startling new interpretations will forever change the way we understand both the man and his work.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The great Italo-Swiss artist Giacometti has been extensively documented in several books-most notably a catalog of a retrospective exhibition published for his centenary in 2001 by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Now comes this new volume by psychoanalyst Wilson, who, in the course of a thorough biography, attempts to explain some of the obsessional aspects of Giacometti's personality from a Freudian perspective not attended to in previous books. Her profile of this inexhaustibly fascinating genius is a standard psychoanalytic portrait, wherein supposed childhood traumas (e.g., the dominant, "phallic" personality of his mother) inflicted permanent scars on his sexual identity and, by extension, the art he made. This narrow view does have some thin soil on which to cling: a period during the 1930s in which Giacometti was in the thrall of the surrealists, who lent credence to ramifications of the psychosexual development of an adult creator. However, Wilson's sometimes perceptive observations about the visionary qualities of his work become derailed by her disquisitive speculations on the latent content of the artist's unconscious. This interpretive approach offers a limited window into Giacometti's aesthetic ethos and does little to explain the pure graphic ecstasy of his late line-rich paintings or his etiolated figurative sculptures. The definitive biography continues to be James Lord's Giacometti. Not recommended.-Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300113365
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Pages: 386
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 1901-1914 Down in the Valley 1
2 1914-1919 Coming of Age 24
3 1920-1925 Travel is Broadening: Geneva, Venice, and Rome 39
4 1925-1929 Paris, Prehistory, and Sexuality 59
5 1929-1933 One of the Boys: Surrealist Splendor 89
6 1930-1932 Surrealist Sculpture: Themes and Variations 113
7 1933-1935 A Double Loss: Death and Departure 141
8 1935-1941 Transition and Timelessness 156
9 1940-1946 The War Years: Geneva and Paris 183
10 1946-1947 Guilt and Hope: A Dream and Three Sculptures 208
11 1947 The Quest for the Absolute and Absolute Elongation 225
12 1948-1954 Exuberance and Maturity 246
13 1955-1966 Portraits: Reprise and Reprisal 269
App. A: Chronology 299
App. B The Dream, the Sphinx, and the Death of T. 303
Notes 309
Selected Bibliography 348
Index 363
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