Alberto Giacometti

Swiss (1901 - 1966)
Alberto Giacometti Femme égorgée [Woman with her Throat Cut] 1932 © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2017.


Born 1901
Died 1966
Nationality Swiss

Swiss-born sculptor Giacometti studied art in Geneva, moving to Paris in 1922 where he experimented with Cubism and became interested in primitive sculpture. He worked with the surrealist group until the mid-1930s, producing strange objects suggestive of cruelty, sex and dreams. After that time, he broke away dramatically from the Surrealists and returned to working from life. He then produced his best known works, a series of elongated and fragile skeletal figures, made not by carving but by an obsessive process of modelling in clay and whittling away.

Glossary terms

  • A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.