Alberto Giacometti

Born 1901. Died 1966.
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Works by Alberto Giacometti at Sotheby's

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Alberto Giacometti Biography

One of the most important artists of the 20th century, Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti is known for his elongated sculptures of the human figure. Born 1901, Giacometti came from a family of artists, both his brother’s Diego and Bruno taking up the trade.

Giacometti attended the School of Fine Art in Geneva before relocating to Paris in 1922 where he became friends with the artists Max Ernst and Joan Miró. His early sculptures show Surrealist influence, before the artist transitioned to a series of small head portraits, none more than three inches tall. After World War II, Giacometti completed his most famous sculptures — extenuated figures standing or walking, such as Three Men Walking (II) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Defing any easy stylistic categorization, the gaunt forms are meditations on the human condition in the aftermath of the devastation of two World Wars.

In 2015 Giacometti was the subject of a major solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, which opened to great acclaim. In addition, his works may be found in many museum collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. According to Sotheby’s Mei Moses, the average compound annual return for Alberto Giacometti resold at auction between 2003 and 2017 was 12.2%. 88.1% of 84 such works increased in value.

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Artist Image: © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s / © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 2018