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The Women of Giacometti at PaceWildenstein
Alberto Giacometti, Bust of Paola, 1958-60. bronze. 21-1/16" x 9-7/16" x 8-1/8" (53.5 cm x 24 cm x 20.6 cm).

NEW YORK.-The Women of Giacometti is on exhibition at PaceWildenstein next. This historical exhibition explores Alberto Giacometti’s fascination with the female subject and features 50 works of art including the nine Women of Venice bronzes, shown together for the first time since 1958.This is an exhibition of the largest group of Alberto Giacometti’s work since the 2001 traveling retrospective organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition, on view December 17, 2005, will travel to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, where it will be on view from January 14 to April 9, 2006. The Women of Giacometti features approximately 48 works of art, including 34 sculptures and 14 paintings, which explore the artist’s long-standing fascination with the female subject, from his mother, sister, and wife to various models including Flora, Isabel, Rita, Paola Caròla, and Caroline.

The exhibition ranges from Giacometti’s early Surrealist and Cubist influenced works in the 1920s and 1930s to all nine cast bronze Women of Venice (Femmes des Venise) from 1956, on view together for the first time in the United States since the landmark 1958 exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery. Louise Tolliver Deutschman, who knew the late artist in Paris and who originally proposed the exhibition concept several years ago, is one of many contributors to the accompanying catalogue. A new essay by Véronique Wiesinger, director of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, will be published along with others by Arne Glimcher; Paola Caròla, a Giacometti model; and Steve Nash, Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center. Alberto Giacometti (b. 1901 Switzerland–d. 1966 Switzerland) was captivated with the human figure, and women in particular, from an early age.

By twelve, he had completed the first portrait drawings of his mother, Annetta, who also had a history of modeling for his father’s paintings. A few years later Giacometti’s focus shifted to include his sister, Ottilia. Both women continued to heavily influence his subject matter throughout their lifetimes and well into Giacometti’s mature style. Giacometti continued to paint from life after moving to Paris in 1922. His affair with the American Flora Mayo was documented in a 1927 portrait and is the only known painting to have been completed. Numerous other acquaintances and models sat for Giacometti: a sculpture of Isabel Nicholas became famously known as “The Egyptian Woman”; Denise Maisonneuve shared a common interest in Surrealism at the same time as he; and the model Rita Gueyfier marked a significant change in the way that Giacometti addressed material, scale and style. Giacometti befriended Annette Arm, who soon became his wife, after returning to Switzerland in 1942.

Their critical relationship, one of the artist and his muse, lasted twenty years. In her essay, model Paola Caròla, who posed for the artist in 1958 and 1959, remarked, “During those six months, sitting on the stool facing him without moving, as he had asked, I found that I was both the object of his gaze and one who observed him. Our eyes, however, never met. A natural alternation developed within the rhythm of Alberto’s work. When he directed his eyes toward me, I stared into the void. Then, as he concentrated on the clay taking shape under his hands, I watched him. As an object, I may not have had the right to watch, and I now wonder what would have happened had his eyes met mine, even though I think his gaze traveled elsewhere, somewhere beyond the person in front of him.” Other notable works in the exhibition include the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s Spoon Woman (1926, cast 1954); the Peggy Guggenheim Collection’s Woman with Her Throat Cut (1932); Woman with Chariot (1942-43); Tall Figure (1947) from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Woman Walking Between Two Houses (1950), Chariot (1950) and Portrait of Caroline (1962). Caroline was Giacometti’s last model and his last great love. His fastidious style underwent a noticeable change in the five years that he had begun painting her prior to his death—a more colorful palette and painterly surface marked by traces of the artist’s hand characterized these later paintings.

The Women of Giacometti was made possible with the help of several generous loans from the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, private collectors, and institutions including: the Alberto Giacometti Foundation, Zurich; The Beyeler Foundation, Basel; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Städelsches Kunstinstitut and Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt.

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