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English art centre celebrates Giacometti centenary

A selection of Giacometti's sculptures are on display Keystone Archive

As the Museum of Modern Art in New York marks Alberto Giacometti's birth, more modest exhibits are also paying tribute to the Swiss artist.

This content was published on November 6, 2001 - 11:47

One such exhibition is in England at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich. Entitled "Alberto Giacometti in Post-war Paris" it features over 120 of the artist's drawings, paintings and sculptures, created between 1945 and 1965.

His brother Diego and his wife Annette, his most constant models, are represented in many works. Intimate portraits of friends such as Henri Matisse and Simone de Beauvoir are included, as well as a portrait of Sir Robert Sainsbury that remained in the artist's studio until his death in 1966.

Were it not for the MoMA retrospective - which transferred to New York from Zurich's Kunsthaus, the Sainsbury exhibition would arguably have been regarded as the biggest event of the centenary celebrations.

It covers a particularly prolific period in Giacometti's life, spent capturing in plaster, paint and pencil the people and objects of his everyday life. During that time, when he worked in a tiny backstreet studio, the artist became a good friend of Sainsbury and his wife, Lisa, who collected a substantial number of his works.

The exhibition includes works from their collection as well as others in private and public hands, and is supplemented by furniture and studio tools on loan from the Giacometti Estate and photographs of the artist at work.

"Alberto Giacometti in Post-war Paris" was curated for the Sainsbury Centre by art historian Michael Peppiatt, who also wrote the catalogue, published by Yale University Press. The catalogue contains the first full English translations of several key texts by Alberto Giacometti.

The exhibition on Giacometti, considered on the country's greatest 20th century artists, continues until December 9.

by Richard Dawson

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