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The Giacometti Institute In Paris

Walk of life.

Alberto Giacometti (1901–66) made history in 2010 when his iconic bronze Walking Man I became the most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction; he broke that record again when his Pointing Man went for a cool $141-million (U.S.) in 2015. Considered a master of modern art, the Swiss artist’s works—most notably his elongated, branch-like figures—have lost none of their momentum in roaming the Earth from one prestigious gallery or museum to the next.

“It was time to give Giacometti a permanent home,” says Catherine Grenier, director of the Giacometti Foundation, as well as president of the new Giacometti Institute. In June of this year, the carefully renovated art deco mansion (once the home of artist and furniture designer Paul Follot) in Paris’ Montparnasse district opened its doors to the public. Visitors are invited to discover Giacometti’s incredible body of work during appointments that can be reserved online; the institute is open to a maximum of 40 guests at a time. Besides a rotating selection of Giacometti sculptures, drawings, paintings, and notebooks, the institute will also welcome guest artists and art history conferences, as well as offering library facilities that explore modern art and include Giacometti’s personal collection of books.

The main attraction, however, is a permanent reconstruction of the minuscule studio where Giacometti lived and worked during the last 40 years of his life; the studio was immortalized by legendary photographers such as Brassaï and Robert Doisneau. The 250-square-foot room (including the original walls, which the artist seemed to use as mood boards) was virtually lifted from its original location in the same neighbourhood. The space displays an array of tools (brushes, paints, etc.), furniture, eyeglasses, and a collection of plaster pieces too delicate to travel, all in a mise en scène that’s realistic right down to the cigarette butt in an ashtray.

This fall, get a leg up on yet more Giacometti-mania at the exhibit Entre tradition et avant-garde, where, among more than 50 sculptures borrowed from the Giacometti Foundation collection and 25 works by other major artists, Walking Man II will temporarily break his stride at the Musée Maillol from September 14, 2018, to January 20, 2019.


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