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Currently shown
Alberto Giacometti

Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Artist

Alberto Giacometti
Borgonovo, Switzerland, 1901 – Chur, Switzerland, 1966

Title

Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Date

1947

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

43.3 x 30.7 cm

Credits

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Young, inv. 1983.30

Collection

Western Art

Throughout his career, the painter and sculptor Giacometti persisted in using the people he was closest to for models. Giacometti was devoted to his mother, corresponding with her at length and visiting her regularly. “She personified the presence and permanence of the inward flame that illuminated the sculptor’s work and life,” as poet Jacques Dupin wrote. The hieratic quality of her personality was completely in tune with the style of his portraits and his quest to render features that always seemed to elude him, to achieve an impossible likeness. He required absolute immobility from his model, whom he seated in a chair positioned with extreme precision. The images of his mother with head high and intense gaze, captured full-length or half-length in a web of lines, trace the advance of years into old age. Those who knew her said she seemed a rock-solid being.

© Estate of Alberto Giacometti / SOCAN (2020)

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