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Alberto Giacometti

/Works and biography

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Standing Woman (''Leoni”) (Femme debout [“Leoni'']),
1947 (cast November 1957)
Bronze, 153 cm high, including base
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 134
© ADAGP/FAAG, by SIAE 2011 per Giacometti


An early example of the mature style with which Alberto Giacometti is usually identified, this figure is more elongated and dematerialized than Woman Walking, although it retains that sculpture’s frontality and immobility. A sense of ghostly fragility detaches the figure from the world around it, despite the crusty materiality of the surfaces, as animated and responsive to light as those of Rodin. Giacometti exploited the contradictions of perception in the haunting, incorporeal sculptures of this period. His matchstick-sized figures of 1942–46 demonstrate the effect of distance on size and comment on the notion that the essence of an individual persists even as the body appears to vanish, that is, to become nonexistent. Giacometti sought to convey several notions simultaneously in his attenuated plastic forms: one’s consciousness of the nonmaterial presence of another person, the insubstantiality of the physical body housing that presence, and the paradoxical nature of perception. Giacometti had the present cast made expressly for Peggy Guggenheim.

credits: Hangar Design Group