Prague exhibition captures full range of sculptor Giacometti’s oeuvre

Photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek

A retrospective of works by one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, Alberto Giacometti, is now on at the National Gallery in Prague. The exhibition brings together around 170 works by the Swiss artist, including some of his relatively little-known drawings and paintings.

Photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek

Alberto Giacometti,  photo: Paolo Monti,  CC BY-SA 4.0
Alberto Giacometti ranks among the most famous sculptors of the modern age. The Swiss artist is currently the subject of a retrospective at Prague’s Trade Fair Palace, which houses the modern collection of the Czech National Gallery.

The exhibition is curated by Julia Tatiana Bailey, who also edited its accompanying catalogue.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring together so many of Giacometti’s works.

“He’s really not just an important artist but also a really well-loved artist, throughout the world.

“He’s also an artist who has inspired so many other artists and I think as people go through they’ll recognise his works but also kind of see the influence of his works on other artists as well.

“In our catalogue we’ve got an essay looking at how he directly influenced Czech and Slovak artists, which is really interesting.

“Some of Giacometti’s works were shown in Prague – I think the first time was in the 1930s.”

Giacometti is primarily known for his elongated, slender and pointed figures.

Photo: ČTK/Vít Šimánek
However, there is much more to the retrospective than his trademark sculptures, with more than a third of the 170 or so pieces on show comprising paintings and drawings.

Serena Bucalo-Mussely is from the Fondation Giacometti in Paris, which lent the items on show to the Czech National Gallery.

“I think that is a real asset for the exhibition. Because normally we have many sculptures and people know the sculptures of Giacometti, but not the paintings.

“And in this exhibition there are many, many paintings.

“I think that’s a good thing for this exhibition: from the beginning to the end of the career of the artist.”

The retrospective also brings home to visitors just how Giacometti’s approach developed over the decades, Julia Tatiana Bailey says.

“We’re starting by looking at his childhood works. He was actually brought up in the mountains of Switzerland, but in an Italian speaking community.

Alberto Giacometti

Trade Fair Palace

Dukelských hrdinů 47

Prague 7

Until December 1, 2019

“He starts out working in a Neo-impressionist style, which was the same as his father, who was a painter.

“Then he moves to Paris in the 1920s and starts by training in these Impressionist styles and then gets completely absorbed into the avant-garde world.

“He starts working in a Cubist style and starts experimenting with that. He’s very influenced by non-Western practice: Egyptian art, art of Africa.

“And then he moves across to working in a more Surrealist style as well.”