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New Giacometti Institute aims to provide new perspectives on the artist’s work
Institut Giacometti, Alberto Giacometti's studio. Photo Marc Domage, © Succession Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris + Adagp, Paris).

PARIS.- The Giacometti Foundation, Paris opened a new permanent space dedicated to exhibitions, as well as art history research and pedagogy. Directed by Catherine Grenier, director of the Giacometti Foundation since 2014, the Giacometti Institute aims to provide new perspectives on the artist’s work and on the creative period in which it emerged.

With nearly 350 sculptures, 90 paintings, over 2 000 drawings and an equally significant collection of etchings, as well as decorative art objects, the Giacometti Foundation possesses the most richly diverse collection of Alberto Giacometti’s works in the world: a collection which it is responsible for preserving, restoring, and enhancing. The Foundation also has a remarkable archive and photography collection at its disposal, along with a reference library on modern art. This invaluable heritage has remained partly inaccessible to the public since the artist’s death in 1966. Fifty years after his death, the Giacometti Institute is now opening its doors to the public.

A museum of an approachable size, allowing proximity with the artworks, the Giacometti Institute is also a study centre and a place of discovery accessible to the general public.

The Giacometti Institute is at once an exhibition space, a key reference venue for the work of Giacometti and an art history research centre dedicated to modern artistic practices (1900-1970). The research and teaching programme is open to researchers, students, and art lovers. Conferences, seminars, and masterclasses will provide art historians and curators with a forum for presenting their work and research news.

The Giacometti Institute will permanently present an exceptional reconstruction of the studio of Alberto Giacometti, whose elements were conserved in their entirety by his widow, Annette Giacometti. Among these elements are some very fragile artworks in plaster and clay (some of which have never been shown to the public), his furniture, and the renowned murals painted by the artist. The reconstruction of Alberto Giacometti’s studio is spectacularly staged, through an ingenious architectural layout comprising tiered seating and ultra-transparent window elements, creating rare proximity to the works.

The Giacometti studio gradually became not only the world of the artist’s work, but also a veritable extension of himself. Giacometti has regularly cited the essential nature of his studio, a legendary place that has remained within the collective memory as the symbol of the artistic life of the Montparnasse neighbourhood. Inseparable from the artist’s legend, the studio is necessary for an understanding of his work: the walls, covered with drawings, bore witness to the artist’s work for forty years and contain precious notes on his creative process.

The reconstruction of this site immortalised by the great photographers such as Robert Doisneau, Sabine Weiss, Gordon Parks, and Ernst Scheidegger, was made possible through extensive conservation and restoration campaigns undertaken by the Giacometti Foundation.

In order to be faithful to the original site whilst also responding to conservation and public display constraints, the reconstruction of the studio required significant multi-phase work: verification and inventory of the elements conserved in the Foundation’s collection, preventive conservation studies, restoration of all of the items for display, scenography, and lighting design.

Most of the artworks, many of which are too fragile to be transported, have never been shown to the public. The permanent reconstruction of the studio will thus enable a significant part of French artistic heritage to finally become accessible.

An ambitious programme will present exhibitions dedicated to particular aspects of Giacometti’s work, his relationships with the artists and writers of his day, but also his influence on the upcoming generations.

Flexible and reactive, the programming will present three to four exhibitions per year of various formats and durations. They will be based on the artworks belonging to the Giacometti Foundation and will include significant loans.

Over seventy sculptures will be presented, mainly in plaster or bronze, and including the very last clay artworks that the artists was working on prior to his death.

For the first time in Paris, an exhibition is dedicated to the bonds of friendship and profound admiration between Alberto Giacometti and Jean Genet who met in 1954 through Jean-Paul Sartre. Their friendship led Jean Genet, who became a model for Giacometti, to write one of the most beautiful texts among the literature on modern art, The Studio of Alberto Giacometti.

The Graphic Art Cabinet
The Giacometti Institute provides access to the Giacometti Foundation’s exceptional collection, including over 5,000 drawings, lithographs, and personal notebooks by the artist, most of which have never previously been seen before by the public. These artworks may be viewed and studied, by request, and will feature in regular presentations and exhibitions.

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