Giacometti's depictions of his studio capture the frenetic artistry that defined his creative process. Between 1950 and 1954 he completed several canvases, drawings and lithographs that depicted the jumble of plaster sculptures, empty bottles, armatures, stretcher bars and wooden stools that crowded his workspace. The ashen and tobacco-stained palette of the artist's paintings of this subject, including the present work, evoke the plaster dust that covered nearly every surface and the cigarette butts that he discarded all over the floor. Alexander Liberman, who visited Giacometti's studio in the early 1950s, described the scene: "Under a big window is a long table entirely covered with squeezed tubes of paint, palettes, paintbrushes, rags and bottles of turpentine. Like figures, the bottles stand shrouded in layers of dust chipped away from Giacometti's sculpture. Here sculpture and painting mix intimately" (A. Liberman, The Artist and His Studio
, New York, 1960, pp. 277-78).
Giacometti once quipped that only Francis Bacon had a messier studio than he did, perhaps indicative of a certain pride that he may have taken in his own permissive disorderliness. Yet, there are obvious elements of staging in these compositions that remind us of the artist's overall control of his environment. The tension between order and disorder is at the heart of these compositions, and Giacometti's painting captures the beauty created by these forces in opposition.