* 1901 Borgonovo/Schweiz
† 1966 Chur
Alberto Giacometti was born in the small Grisons village of Borgonovo on 10 October 1901. He attended school in the neighbouring village of Stampa, where he painted and modelled under the supervision of his father, the painter Giovanni Giacometti. In 1919 Alberto Giacometti dropped out of school shortly before he was due to take the examinations qualifying for university entrance in order to devote himself entirely to art. After studying at the Geneva School for the Decorative and Applied Arts in 1919 and 1920, Albert Giacometti spent quite some time in Italy before going to Paris in 1922 to attend the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where he studied under Bourdelle until 1925, an experience that exerted a formative influence on Albert Giacometti. Archaising beginnings distinguished by elemental force were followed in Alberto Giacometti's work by an approach to Surrealism between 1930 and 1935. During this period Giacometti produced ''objets' and contributed essays to Surrealist journals. Even then Giacometti's spatial constructions prefigured the extreme elongation and attenuation that would become the hallmark of his figures. The human figure began to predominate in Giacometti's work. By 1945 he was producing attenuated, almost uncorporeal bronze figures whose vulnerability was emphasised by the comparatively compact substructures on which Giacometti placed them. The relationship between figure and space came to be the core of Giacometti's work: striding or stationary standing figures were isolated in a void. Existential vulnerability and anguished anxiety inform this urgently subjective mode of representation, which lives from the immediacy of the moment. Many observers regard these Giacometti figures as mirroring the spiritual and emotional situation of the time. Just as Giacometti's figures exerted a paramount influence on contemporary sculpture, his drawings and painting also reveal with great urgency and sensitivity the human being as lost in the void of space. The salient formal characteristic of these drawings and paintings is the reticulated handling of line with which Giacometti scooped volume from surfaces and an almost monochrome palette. From 1953 Giacometti began to make prints, some of which have appeared in books. During the world war II years Giacometti lived in Geneva but returned to Paris in 1945, continuing to live and work there until his death in 1966. In 1961 Giacometti was awarded the Carnegie Prize (Pittsburgh, PA), the Grand Prix at the 1962 Venice Biennale and the 1964 Guggenheim Prize for painting. So distinctive that they are unmistakable, Giacometti's works are represented in all major collections world-wide, where they exemplify mid-20th-century art.