Cover image for Alberto Giacometti in postwar Paris
Alberto Giacometti in postwar Paris
Peppiatt, Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press in association with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvi, 171 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Published to accompany an exhibition held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Oct. 2-Dec. 9, 2001 and the Fondation de l'Hermitage, Lausanne, Feb. 1-May 12, 2002.
Includes exhibition catalogue.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6853.G5 A4 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Alberto Giacometti, one of the foremost artists of the twentieth century, created sculptures and paintings of stark and haunting beauty. Now, in the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, this book celebrates his genius, tracing his development from the tiny sculptures he made during World War II to the characteristically emaciated figures of his mature style.

Michael Peppiatt gives a vivid account of the crucial moment when Giacometti returned from his wartime exile in Geneva to his beloved Paris, a city traumatized by the war but receptive to new movements and ideas. He describes how Giacometti's way of seeing life -- and his way of working -- underwent several dramatic transformations during this period. He sheds light on Giacometti's closest relationships at the time, not only with his lover, Isabel Delmer, his brother Diego, and his young wife, Annette, but also with his writer friends Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Samuel Beckett, and Jean Genet. Exploring the mainsprings of Giacometti's creativity, Peppiatt presents four key texts by the artist, translated into English for the first time, that poignantly describe and illuminate his deepest fears and obsessions. Using rarely seen photographs Peppiatt also discusses Giacometti's studio, which the artist regarded as a continual, indispensable source of stimulus. Richly illustrated with reproductions of Giacometti's sculptures, paintings, and drawings, the book sheds new light on his singular style of expression.

This strikingly beautiful book is the catalogue for an exhibition to be held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, England, and at the Fondation de L'Hermitage in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

The centenary of Alberto Giacometti's birth last year heralded a number of exhibitions of this much-beloved master's work. This title by Peppiatt (Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma) accompanies an eponymous show touring European museums, focusing on Giacometti's most productive and artistically mature years. The sculptor-painter spent the duration of World War II languishing in his native Switzerland, modeling plaster figures so profoundly attenuated that when he returned to a liberated Paris, he was able to smuggle three years' of work in matchboxes in his jacket pocket. Once he was happily reestablished in his tiny Montparnasse studio, the sculptor began making the tall, gaunt figures he's best known for today. Although lacking the comprehensive scope of the catalog of the 2001 Giacometti retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, this book distills the artist's most interesting aspects, making an already thoroughly examined life seem freshly compelling. This is achieved partly by including four pieces of the artist's own surreal essays and poetry, in which his struggle with his vision's clash with reality is foregrounded. One of the better titles available on this important 20th-century figure, this is recommended for academic and larger public library collections. Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

During 2001-02, the 100th anniversary of Giacometti's birth was outstandingly celebrated by comprehensive exhibitions in New York and Zurich. Peppiatt, former editor and publisher of Art International and writer on Francis Bacon and other modern artists, wrote this catalog for a more focused exhibition concentrating on the artist's works created in Paris in the years following World War II. Organized and shown first at the Sainsbury during the fall of 2001 and at the Fondation de l'Hermitage in Lausanne during the winter and spring of 2002, the exhibition included some 100 sculptures, drawings, and paintings from 20 lenders, with many works collected since 1949 by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury. Peppiatt's essay discusses Giacometti's return to Paris from exile in Geneva, with emphasis on both the works themselves and the individuals who informed his life and art, including his wife and mistress, his brother Diego, and his many writer friends, such as Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Beckett, and Genet. The catalog also includes four important texts by Giacometti, translated into English for the first time, excellent full-page color reproductions of each work in the exhibition, list of works, detailed chronology, select bibliography, and chronological list of selected exhibition catalogs. A fine addition to modern art collections. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. Weidman Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art