The most important collection of works by Alberto Giacometti at last has a purpose-built home of its own in Zurich's fine arts museum, the Kunsthaus.
Seven rooms, described by the Kunsthaus as "a self-contained home", have been converted from former administrative office space, to provide lighting conditions similar to the Paris studio where the Swiss artist did much of his finest work.
Since the opening of an extension to the early 20th century building in 1976, the collection has played a central role in the museum's life. However, the spacious, sprawling architecture was regarded as being too dominant for the fragile sculptures, and Zurich architect Tobias Ammann was commissioned to come up with a design which Kunsthaus officials say is nothing short of perfect for the works of Alberto Giacometti.
"For sculptures," says curator Christian Klemm, "sidelight is always very important. So are the proportions and size of each room."
One of the world's leading authorities on Giacometti, Klemm added that the many photographs of the artist in his studio show him working with lighting from the side and above - the same angles as those created in the new exhibition space.
The space has also met with approval from Giacometti's brother Bruno, now in his 90s. He said in a newspaper interview that the seven rooms were "a very fitting and congenial space" for the sculptures.
Alberto Giacometti, who died in 1966, is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
To mark the centenary of his birth last year, the Kunsthaus organised a highly successful retrospective - the first on such a broad scale - of his works. The exhibition was greeted with similar acclaim after its transfer to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
by Richard Dawson