In Giacometti's Studio

Overview

This deeply engaging book introduces the reader to the creative chaos of the tiny Parisian studio of the great sculptor Alberto Giacometti, from the moment he and his brother, Diego, arrived in 1927, with all their possessions in a wheelbarrow, until Alberto’s death in 1966. Michael Peppiatt relates how the artist first worked there as a member of the Surrealist movement and then how he gradually made his mark on Paris’s artistic, literary, and intellectual worlds. After an enforced wartime exile in Geneva in a ...

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Overview

This deeply engaging book introduces the reader to the creative chaos of the tiny Parisian studio of the great sculptor Alberto Giacometti, from the moment he and his brother, Diego, arrived in 1927, with all their possessions in a wheelbarrow, until Alberto’s death in 1966. Michael Peppiatt relates how the artist first worked there as a member of the Surrealist movement and then how he gradually made his mark on Paris’s artistic, literary, and intellectual worlds. After an enforced wartime exile in Geneva in a miserable hotel, he returned to Paris and to the same broken-down little shed of a studio behind Montparnasse where he struggled to realize his pared-down vision of mankind and which became a magnet for many of the great artists and writers of the time (from Picasso and Braque to Balthus, from Breton and Genet to Beckett). Peppiatt prefaces his story with a poignant, personal narrative of how as a young man he arrived in Paris with an introduction from Francis Bacon to Giacometti; the encounter was forestalled by the artist’s very recent death, but Peppiatt instead got to know the key people in Giacometti’s world. He explains how the studio, now dismantled, seems to be both Giacometti’s most important artwork, encompassing countless complete or unfinished works, and the archive of years of struggle. With Giacometti’s death, it became his greatest achievement, containing as it did the traces of a lifetime’s search for truth. This vivid exploration of one of the most evocative and influential spaces in 20th-century art connects us with both a unique career and an entire, outstanding moment in French culture.

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Editorial Reviews

ARTnews
“Insightful . . . [and] highly personal, . . . [Peppiatt’s] vivid account brings to life one of the most consequential spaces in 20th century art history.”—Stephen May, ARTnews
— Stephen May
ARTnews - Stephen May
“Insightful . . . [and] highly personal, . . . [Peppiatt’s] vivid account brings to life one of the most consequential spaces in 20th century art history.”—Stephen May, ARTnews
Library Journal
Art critic, editor, and curator Peppiatt's enduring fascination with Alberto Giacometti began when Peppiatt was a young man in 1966, when he arrived in Paris with an introduction from Francis Bacon only to find that the great sculptor had just died. Centering his study on the tiny rue Hippolyte-Maindron studio in Montparnasse, Peppiatt passionately presents his subject's chaotic and harsh life, tormented personality and family life, surrealist influences and milieu, drawings and paintings, sculptures large and small, slow success and exhibitions, friendships with literary figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett, and famous monumental subtractive sculptures. A magnet for artists and intellectuals, the studio he occupied for 40 years is hailed as his most important and tangible achievement. Dismantled in the early 1970s, a partial reconstruction with salvaged wall murals was shown at the Centre Pompidou retrospective in 2007. VERDICT This elegantly produced homage with handsome black-and-white photos will enlighten, inform, and earn an approving nod from the Giacometti faithful, as well as readers interested in mid-20th-century Parisian culture.—Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300093933
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 12/7/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 12.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Peppiatt is a leading authority on Giacometti and Francis Bacon. He is the author of, among many works, Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris and Francis Bacon in the 1950s.

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