Today the work of Alberto Giacometti is world-famous and his sculptures sell for record-breaking prices. But from his early days as an unknown outsider to the end of a dramatic international career, Giacometti lived in the same hovel of a studio in Paris. It was Paris that made him, and he in turn immortalised the city through his art.
Arriving in Paris from the Swiss Alps in 1922, Giacometti was shaped not only by his relationships with remarkable artists and writers – from Picasso, Breton and Dalí to Sartre, Beauvoir and Beckett – but by the everyday life, pre-war and post-war, of Paris itself. His distinctive figures emerged from the city’s unique atmosphere: the crumbling grey stone of its humbler streets and the café-terraces buzzing with radical ideas and racy gossip.
In Giacometti in Paris, Michael Peppiatt, who spent thirty years documenting the Parisian art world and mixing with many of the people Giacometti knew, brilliantly charts the course of the artist’s life and work. From falling in and out with the Surrealists to years of artistic anguish, from devotion to his mother to intense friendships, tragic love affairs and a fraught marriage, this is an intimate portrait of an outstanding artist in exceptional times.
‘Marvellous . . . intimate and insightful . . . reads like a novel by Samuel Beckett’, Paul Theroux