Lot 7
  • 7

Alberto Giacometti

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alberto Giacometti
  • painted plaster
  • height: 34cm.
  • 13 3/8 in.


Aimé Maeght, Paris
Galerie Adrien Maeght, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998


St. Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Alberto Giacometti, 1978, no. 68 (titled Tête de Diego)
Paris, Galerie Adrien Maeght, Alberto Giacometti, plâtres peints, 1984, illustrated in colour in the catalogue and illustrated on the cover


Jacques Dupin, Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1962, illustrated p. 276 (titled Diego)

Catalogue Note

'...in reality we always see in colour, don't we? If I make a sculpture in grey clay or cast in bronze, the impression of thinness is greater; if I paint it it tends to look much more true than if it's not painted. That's why I always feel I wanted to make painted sculpture' Alberto Giacometti




Throughout his career, Giacometti occasionally painted his sculptures, enhancing the individuality and expressiveness of his three-dimensional figures. In his early period, the artist had painted some of his plasters, and from the 1950s started applying paint to bronzes as well. As he portrayed his brother Diego in numerous paintings and sculptures, the present work is a fascinating composite of these two media, bringing together the rich surface texture of the plaster and the liveliness of polychrome treatment. As Giacometti once said, 'There is no difference between painting and sculpture.' Since 1945, he added, 'I have been practising them both indifferently, each helping me to do the other. In fact, both of them are drawing, and drawing has helped me to see' (quoted in Y. Bonnefoy, Alberto Giacometti. A Biography of his Work, Paris, 1991, p. 436).


In an interview with David Sylvester, Giacometti discussed his painted sculptures: 'Not long after I'd begun to do sculpture I did paint a few, but then I destroyed them all. I repeated this at times. In 1950 I painted a whole series of sculptures. But as you paint them you see what's wrong with the form. And there's no point in painting something you don't believe in. [...] I can't waste time fooling myself that I've achieved something by painting it if there's nothing underneath. So I have to sacrifice the painting and try and do the form. In the same way as I have to sacrifice the whole figure to try and do the head' (quoted in D. Sylvester, Looking at Giacometti, London, 1994, p. 218).