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Alberto Giacometti: A body of work

PUBLISHED: 09:57 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:57 19 April 2016

Alberto Giacometti, Diego in Pullover, 1953, Bronze, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Donation: Lillian og P.T. Nielsens Fond © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris),  licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2016. Photo: Poul Buchard / Brøndum & Co

Alberto Giacometti, Diego in Pullover, 1953, Bronze, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Donation: Lillian og P.T. Nielsens Fond © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2016. Photo: Poul Buchard / Brøndum & Co

Poul Buchard / Brøndum & Co

A stunning exhibition of work by Alberto Giacometti opens in Norwich this month

Alberto Giacometti, Self-Portrait, 1920, Oil on Canvas, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Beyeler Collection. Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2016Alberto Giacometti, Self-Portrait, 1920, Oil on Canvas, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Beyeler Collection. Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2016

HIS PAINTINGS and sculptures helped shape and influence art in the 20th century and onwards, and now a major new exhibition is coming to Norwich, celebrating the work of Alberto Giacometti.

Fifty years after his death in 1966, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is hosting Alberto Giacometti: A Line through Time. This landmark exhibition - the most extensive dedicated to Giacometti in the UK in the past decade - examines the painter, sculptor and draughtsman’s influence among his contemporaries in Paris and his impact on British art in the post-war period.

Alberto Giacometti, Standing Woman (detail), 1958-1959, Bronze, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS 
and DACS, London 2016. Photo: Pete HugginsAlberto Giacometti, Standing Woman (detail), 1958-1959, Bronze, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, © The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2016. Photo: Pete Huggins

Giacometti (1901-1966) is already a favourite at the Sainsbury Centre, which has a remarkable collection of his works, the largest in the UK. The new exhibition will complement this collection with more than 150 works, with significant loans from around the world, including Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Fondation Beyeler, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Fitzwilliam Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and many private collections. It will examine the Swiss artist’s preoccupation with the isolated figure, which dominated his work, and will explore how he was influenced by ancient art, and his own legacy to modern British art, with works by artists including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, William Turnbull, Eduardo Paolozzi, Elisabeth Frink, Frank Auerbach, Henry Moore and Isabel Rawsthorne.

Calvin Winner, co-curator of the exhibition with Claudia Milburn, says: “Giacometti was the quintessential artist-philosopher who offered a deep and profound mediation on the human condition. The benefactors of the Sainsbury Centre, Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, were both patrons and friends of Giacometti, making the centre a fitting place to mark the anniversary of his death and celebrate his life and work.”

Alberto Giacometti, The Cage (First Version), 1950, Bronze, piece from Alberto Giacometti, The Cage (First Version), 1950, Bronze, piece from "Fondation Ernst Beyeler". Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Beyeler Collection. Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel,© The Estate of Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti, Paris and ADAGP, Paris), licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, London 2016

The Sainsburys’ patronage came at a key moment for Giacometti. Robert and Lisa first met the artist in Paris in 1949 and acquired the painting Diego Seated (1948). They developed a personal and loyal friendship with Giacometti, his wife Annette and his brother Diego. Giacometti later drew portraits of Robert as well as the Sainsbury children, David and Elizabeth - a series of portraits of David from 1955 will feature in this exhibition, as well as several unpublished letters that have not previously been shown.

The exhibition title, A Line through Time, references among other aspects Giacometti’s fascination with ancient art, and his work will be shown in the context of Ancient Egyptian funerary figures, Etruscan and Cycladic figurines and West African sculpture drawn from the Sainsbury Centre’s rich collections.

Alberto Giacometti: A Line Through Time is at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts from April 23 to August 29. Admission is £12/£10.50; free for members and patrons, and other concessions including Art Fund/UEA staff and students (details from gallery reception). Buy tickets online at scva.ac.uk or call 01603 593199 (booking line open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).

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