Alberto Giacometti, the elegant catalog for a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, seeks to counter overly literary or psychological interpretations of an artist who has long been viewed as a poster boy for existentialism. The atmospheric black-and-white halftones and color plates are organized in closely interrelated, chronological groups to support texts by several experts, including Christian Klemm, curator of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation. By focusing on the work itself--which includes paintings and drawings as well as the famously slender, elongated sculptures--the authors emphasize his exquisitely calibrated response to the roles played by perception and memory. In the portraits, for example, networks of fine lines dematerialize a sitter's face yet preserve her essence. Anne Umland's intriguing discussion of the roles of photography and the fetish in Giacometti's surrealist-era sculpture is one of the many pleasures of this book. --Cathy Curtis
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
One of the most universally admired artists of the 20th century, the Swiss-born sculptor/painter Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) is best known for a series of bronzes depicting ghostly, attenuated figures made during a burst of intense creative activity inspired partly by the cataclysmic events of World War II. The largest retrospective of Giacometti's work ever mounted almost 200 individual sculptures, paintings, and drawings, shown at Zurich's Kunsthaus and New York's MoMA has generated Klemm's fine catalog, the best book on this major figure to have appeared since James Lord's definitive Giacometti: A Biography (Noonday, 1997. reprint.). In addition to the aforementioned sculptures, Kunsthaus curator Klemm has assembled a farrago of this artist's eclectic accomplishments, from his early eminence among the Parisian Surrealists onward. Worth the entire cover price is the handful of pages depicting the astonishingly agile still-life drawings from the artist's productive mid-century years. An excellent and deeply inspiring book true to its subject; recommended for all art collections. Also timed to coincide with the exhibition is the publication of an elegantly packaged, slipcased set of two thin monographs profiling Alberto and his lesser-known sibling, Diego (1902-85), a designer of furniture and objets d'art and the metal smith who cast many of his brother's major bronzes. Identical in format and size, these books are primarily a conglomeration of a few dozen photos of artwork alongside short introductory biocritical essays and brief chronologies. Next to Klemm's hefty volume, each of these works feels more like a repackaged article from a glossy art journal, suitable as an attractive gift book but providing little for most library users. Nonetheless, as the only title currently available on the younger Giacometti, the set can be recommended for more comprehensive collections. Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L.
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