The Comité Giacometti has confirmed the authenticity of this painting. It will be included in the catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Foundation Alberto and Annette Giacometti.
The Association Alberto and Annette Giacometti has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Most of Giacometti's paintings of the interior of his studio and its contents were done in the early 1950s, just as the artist was making his way from the "weightless, visionary style" of the immediate post-war years to his new engagement with the figure in space, as manifest in the powerfully modeled busts and heads of his brother Diego and his wife Annette. A renewed interest in painting had set this transformation in motion. The atelier still-life paintings mark the course of this process, taking as their subject the many plaster heads and figures that Giacometti executed in the late 1940s, and now filled his studio at 46, rue Hippolyte-Maindron in Paris. By subjecting these sculptures to his painter's analytical gaze, he in effect remade them as art a second time. He revisited them in the newer spatial context he was now investigating, in which he was transforming weightlessness into substantiality, and his vision of the void into the real space of human presence and interaction.
Accounts of Giacometti's studio conjure up a mysterious, unworldly place. The novelist and playwright Jean Genet wrote, "This studio on the ground floor is going to collapse at any moment. It is made of worm-eaten wood, of gray powder, the sculptures are of plaster, showing bits of string, stuffing, or ends of wire, the canvases, painted gray, have long ago lost the repose of the art supplier's shop, everything is stained and ready for the dustbin, all is precarious, on the verge of disintegration, everything tends to decay and is adrift: well, all of this is possessed as of an absolute reality" (quoted in J. Lord., Giacometti: A Biography, New York, 1983, pp. 350-351). The artist and publisher Alexander Liberman described the studio, "The walls are gray, the sculptures gray and white, interspersed with the sepia accent of wood or the full glint of bronze. In the darker corners of the room, the long, narrow life-size figures seem like apparitions from another planet" (in The Artist and His Studio, New York, 1960, p. 277).
Giacometti's atelier still-lifes have an interesting counterpart in the photographic record of the artist, his work and surroundings made by the Swiss photographer Ernst Scheidegger, who first met Giacometti in 1943, and became his close friend in the years following the Second World War (fig.1). The grisaille palette in Giacometti's paintings is mirrored in the stark contrasts of Scheidegger's black and white photographs. The linear elements in the background of the present painting help define a perspectival sense of space; they are also, as the photographs reveal, a rendering of the lines that Giacometti actually drew on the walls of his studio.
(fig. 1) Sculptures in Giacometti's studio, 1947. Photographed by Ernst Scheidegger. BARCODE 23659421