Born in Switzerland in 1901, Alberto Giacometti was encouraged to take up a career in art by his artist father. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and the École des Arts et Métiers in Geneva before relocating to Paris in 1922. Here Giacometti attended sculpture classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and circulated among artists such as Pablo Picasso and Max Ernst. In the early 1930s, Giacometti played an integral role in the Parisian Surrealist movement; his sculptures Spoon woman and Woman with her throat cut date from this period. Toward the end of the 1930s, Giacometti’s iconic elongated figural sculptures began to emerge.
In 1962, Giacometti was awarded the Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize for Sculpture. Though famous for his sculptures, Giacometti also produced many graphic works throughout his artistic career. The Kenneth Tyler Collection features two lithographs which Giacometti created at Gemini Ltd in 1965. The prints, Standing woman and Seated figure (woman), are typical examples of Giacometti’s graphics, both featuring a solitary figure in an interior.
1901 Born in Borgovno, Switzerland
1904 Family relocates to Stampa, Switzerland
1915-19 Attends the Evangelical School in Schiers, Switzerland
1919-20 Studies painting at the École des Beaux-Arts and sculpture and drawing at the École des Arts et Métiers in Geneva
1920 Travels to Italy with his father Giovanni; attends the Venice Biennale and visits the Arena Chapel in Padua before returning to Switzerland and working in Geneva and then returning to Italy; visiting Florence and settling in Rome
1922 Moves to Paris
1922-7 Attends sculpture classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière taught by Antoine Bourdelle. Attendance at classes is sporadic, and punctuated by long absences.
1926 Produces first major sculpture, Spoon woman
1927 Sets up a studio with his brother Diego, who becomes his assistant and constant companion. Exhibits sculpture at the Salon des Tuileries, Paris. Exhibits for the first time in Switzerland, with his father, at the Galerie Aktuayrus, Zurich
1928 Meets artists André Masson, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, and the writers Georges Bataille and Louis Aragon
1930-34 Involved with the Parisian group of Surrealists
1932 First solo exhibition, Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris
1934 First American solo exhibition, Julien Levy Gallery, New York
1939 Meets Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
1942 Moves to Geneva
1948 Solo exhibition, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
1955 Retrospective exhibitions at the Arts Council Gallery, London, and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York
1961 Receives Sculpture Prize, Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, United States of America
1962 Included in Venice Biennale, Italy, and is awarded the Grand Prize for Sculpture
1965 Travelling retrospective exhibition, originating at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; solo exhibition, Alberto Giacometti: sculpture, paintings, drawings 1913 – 1965, Tate, London; retrospective exhibitions, Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Netherlands. Receives the Grand Prix National des Arts from the French Government
1966 Alberto Giacometti died in Chur, Switzerland
Emilie Owens, 2007
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.
NATIONAL GALLERY PUBLICATIONS
- Workshop: The Kenneth Tyler Collection, Jane Kinsman (ed.), 2015