Mythic Giacometti

Mythic Giacometti

by James Lord
     
 

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The Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) was arguably the greatest sculptor of the twentieth century. He was also--as James Lord persuasively argued in Giacometti: A Biography--a heroic figure whose vocation sustained him through a life of crippling anxiety and erotic guilt.

Almost twenty years after it first appeared, Giacometti has

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Overview

The Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) was arguably the greatest sculptor of the twentieth century. He was also--as James Lord persuasively argued in Giacometti: A Biography--a heroic figure whose vocation sustained him through a life of crippling anxiety and erotic guilt.

Almost twenty years after it first appeared, Giacometti has attained the status of a classic, one of the most candid and complete biographies of an artist in our time. In Mythic Giacometti, Lord reveals the hidden "blueprint" of that work: a daringly literal, visionary interpretation of the myth of Oedipus as it affected the conduct and outcome of Giacometti's life. The result is a case study both in the development of an artist and in the writing of biography. Lord concentrates on the private totems of Giacometti's life-family legend, childhood memory,
illness and injury, crucial sexual encounters, intimations of mortality-that amounted, in Lord's view, to signs of a tragic destiny directly linked to the central tragedy of Western literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Nearly two decades ago, longtime art-world habitu Lord authored what remains the best biography of celebrated Swiss sculptor/painter Alberto Giacometti. Continuing in his usual mode of part memoir/part biography, Lord presents this book-length essay as a coda to his earlier work, to create "a worthy monument to [Giacometti's] heroism." Lord describes his lengthy association with the neurotic artist as an "intimate acquaintance." From this privileged viewpoint, he constructs a puzzle wherein Giacometti's lifelong travails are aligned with the Oedipus story, at times more subtly than others. Lord travels through the familiar plot points of his subject's life, from the domineering mother, the loss of sexual potency, the creative stops and starts, and the encounters with corpses and prostitutes, en route to another perceptive delineation of one of the most revered 20th-century masters. His complex syntax is a heady broth, with a tone infused with admiration. With so many Giacometti books having appeared since his centenary in 2001, yet another could seem superfluous. But this is more than another glossy paean to the inscrutable genius. As an example of the ongoing writing, perhaps even a final word, from Lord the quintessential American in Paris this title will have a built-in readership. And as a companion piece to a landmark biographical work, this is highly recommended for all large libraries. Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466815117
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
06/02/2004
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
144
File size:
262 KB

Meet the Author

James Lord's books include A Giacometti Portrait, first published in 1965, and Giacometti: A Biography (FSG, 1985), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent work is Plausible Portraits of James Lord (FSG, 2003)


James Lord first went to France at age twenty-one as a member of the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. Since then he has spent the major part of his life in Paris, where he has been acquainted with many of the most prominent members of modern European art. In recognition of his contribution to French culture he has been made an officer of the Legion of Honour. His books include A Giacometti Portrait and My Queer War.

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