Sculptors have long been fascinated, even seduced, by the possibilities of the human body. From classical Greece’s Doryphoros to Michelangelo’s David, the nude has captivated artists and viewers alike with its simplicity and power. One of the most arresting interpreters of the human form is Alberto Giacometti (1901–66), renowned for haunting nudes so prophetic for the moderns that they were claimed by the surrealist, existentialist, formalist, and expressionist movements in turn. Now, intensely personal photographs of Giacometti’s work are available for the first time in print in Ernst Scheidegger’s Alberto Giacometti: Sculpture in Plaster.
Alongside personal commentary documenting his twenty-year friendship with the sculptor, Scheidegger here presents photographs he took at Giacometti’s Paris studio and family home in Switzerland. These striking images document Giacometti’s little-seen work in plaster, the intermediate stage of his artistic process before the final bronze casting. They vividly evoke how the sculptor worked and offer unique insight into Giacometti’s creative process.
The images are accompanied by curator Christian Klemm’s critical essay on the sculptor who revolutionized the art world and entranced a 1930s Parisian milieu that included Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Giacometti’s later razor-thin, skeletal nudes, Klemm argues, reflect the devastation of postwar Europe and the angst of a generation. This rich collection of photographs provides a surprising new perspective on the way that Giacometti gave his artistic vision physical form.
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Ernst Scheidegger is a photographer, teacher, filmmaker, newspaper editor, gallery owner, and publisher. His friendship with Alberto Giacometti began in 1943.
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