National Portrait Gallery Announces Exhibition of Giacometti Portraits

Bust of Annette, 1954, Alberto Giacometti Photo: courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

The first ever exhibition focusing on the portraits of sculptor, painter, draftsman, and print-maker Alberto Giacometti will open at London’s National Portrait Gallery this October.

The show, entitled “Giacometti: Pure Presence,” was announced on Tuesday, just hours after his sculpture Pointing Man fetched $141.3 million at Christie’s New York, setting a new world record for sculpture at auction (see Giacometti Bronze Set to Become the World’s Most Expensive Sculpture at Christie’s May Auction and $179 Million Picasso Sets Stratospheric Record at Christie’s $705.9 Million “Looking Forward” Sale).

“Giacometti is widely celebrated as one of the giants of modern art, but his almost continuous involvement with portraiture is less well known,” Paul Moorhouse, curator of the exhibition, said in a statement. “In devoting individual rooms to his main models, the exhibition exposes the singular, obsessive and intense nature of Giacometti’s portraits,” he added.

The exhibition will include 60 works, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings. It will also include rare loans from private collections and seldom-seen portraits, offering new insights into the oeuvre of the Swiss artist, famous for his tall spindly figures.

Giacometti had regular sitters throughout his career and visitors to the exhibition will see his drawings and sculptures of his brother Diego, his wife Annette, and British philanthropist Lord Sainsbury.

“Giacometti: Pure Presence” will be the first major exhibition of the sculptor’s work in the United Kingdom since his 1996 retrospective at the Royal Academy.


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