- Alberto Giacometti
- Figurine sur grand socle
- inscribed A. Giacometti, numbered 6/6 and with the foundry mark Alexis Rudier. Fondeur. Paris.
- height: 27.5cm.
- 10 7/8 in.
Acquired directly from the above in 1963
Franz Meyer, Alberto Giacometti visto por los fotógrafos, Madrid, 1990, illustrated in a photograph p. 76
Giacometti's Figurine sur grand socle personifies the most iconic image of the artist's œuvre – the standing female nude. Executed in 1950, it was a precursor to the Femme de Venise series, and was a starting point for Giacometti's most distinctive line of experimentation with the female form. Throughout the 1940s and up until his death in 1966, Giacometti created several variations of a solitary nude woman, her long, lean body firmly anchored to a base. With its multiple and conflicting thematic connotations of stoicism, resilience, passivity, solitude, strength and vulnerability, it embodies the Existentialist concerns of many artists and intellectuals working in post-war Paris. The timeless quality and rough treatment of the bronze surface in the present work are reminiscent of artefacts of ancient civilisations, such as Egyptian statues or Cycladic fertility goddesses, which were an important source of inspiration for Giacometti.
Figurine sur grand socle is distinguished for the dramatic difference in scale between the thin, elongated female form, and the large, solid base from which the figure rises. Valerie Fletcher wrote: 'In his period of experimentation during 1935-45, Giacometti sought to grasp the entirety of his subject, usually a bust or standing figure. To convey that sense of wholeness, he portrayed each as if seen from afar. Thus the disproportionately large bases were intended to create the illusion that the figures are located at a distance, where they appear small and indistinct, yet retain a sense of reality' (V. Fletcher in Alberto Giacometti (exhibition catalogue), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 1988, p. 118).
Fig. 1, Giacometti in front of the present work during the exhibition in Kunsthalle, Bern, 1956. Photograph by Henriette Grindat, Lausanne