Giacometti: More Than You Know

Giacometti - What You Know

Giacometti - What You Know

Everybody knows Giacometti’s emaciated figures — the ones  that should be grotesque, but are instead objects of our fascination, and despite ourselves, we find them strangely friendly. But these figures only comprised a small portion of his life’s work.

Just ending is an exhibition at the Peter Freeman gallery in NYC that celebrates his drawings — drawings that are “figures…built up out of a complex web of searching line, form and erasure—as if the artist were in an unending process of stopping and starting, of decision and indecision. Their sense of becoming and of dissolving simultaneously are what made Giacometti’s figures the poster children for Existentialism.”

But across his life’s work he focused not just on the human body, but on everyday things, like trees, flowers, apples rolling across a table. The guest curator, Meredith Harper, reinforces Giacometti’s range of styles across his career:

It is as if Giacometti, as evinced from this remarkable exhibition, were reinventing the act of drawing every time he put pen, pencil or crayon to paper.

I think the exhibition is a good example of an artist’s constant quest for metamorphosis and their constant effort to evolve — whether in brushstroke, texture, composition, or [insert endless range of possibilities]…

Giacometti - What You May Not Know

Giacometti - What You May Not Know

‘Alberto Giacometti: Drawings’



  1. I would have enjoyed this exhibit. I’ve always been fond of Giacometti’s figurative sculptures and agree with you when you say, they should be grotesque, but we end up finding them friendly. I know he was influenced by Miro, and Picasso, and at some point was interested in primitive art. I think these influences show in all of his work. I would like to see more of his drawings in person.

    Another artist that you might enjoy is Cy Twombly.

  2. Elizabeth, Cy Twombly too is a great example of the artist’s “metamorphisis.” This website of his work clearly shows his progression, starting in 1951 through the present.

    In terms of his approach I think he was as bold at the beginning as he is currently. However, he seems to have branched out in the wider use of color. At one point he seemed to go through a floral stage, and it seems that that’s when he embraced the color wheel. I think his first works were very mathematical, calculated, and later on he grew more organic in his subject matter. I particularly like the running thread of “historical context” throughout his works, portrayed, for example, in a series he did in Rome in the ’60’s depicting one of the emperors of the Roman Holy Empire. The series is at the Guggenheim Bilbao:

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