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Alberto Giacometti

/Works and biography

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Woman Walking (Femme qui marche), 1936
Plaster, 150 cm high, including base
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 132
© Alberto Giacometti Estate / by SIAE in Italy, 2014


This sculpture is conceived in the rational and formally serene mode Alberto Giacometti pursued concurrently with his dark Surrealist explorations of the subconscious. Woman Walking has none of the ferocity of Woman with Her Throat Cut, though both works were executed during the same period. The graceful, calm plaster seems to have its source in the frontal figures of ancient Egypt, posed with left feet slightly ahead of right in fearless confrontation of death. Despite the pose, Woman Walking, like its Egyptian ancestors, conveys no sense of movement. In its flatness, the work evokes the traditions of the highly simplified Cycladic figure and the geometric kouros of archaic Greece. The notion of depicting the fragmentary nude without limbs or merely a torso goes back to archaeological remnants from classical sculpture, and in recent times back to Auguste Rodin’s notorious The Walking Torso with no arms nor head (1900–1907, Musée Rodin, Paris). Woman Walking also reflects Giacometti’s awareness of twentieth-century sculptors, particularly Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Archipenko.

credits: Hangar Design Group