Alberto Giacometti - La Place, trois figures, 1950

La Place (three figurines), c.1950 drawing

During March and April 1950, Alberto Giacometti made three figures each day, sketches of figures with different sizes and heads. Although he was not satisfied, he felt unable to destroy them yet did not want to “leave them alone and lost in space”. “Almost in spite of himself”, he grouped several together and made a first composition with three figures and a head.

A few days later, he noticed that some plasters that had been left on the floor formed two groups which corresponded to what he was looking for and which enabled him to “rid himself” of the rigidity of the Place with Three Figures. Happy with this coincidence, he mounted them on bases, without making any changes to their place, nor the dimensions. One composed of nine figures became The Clearing, the other, comprising seven figures and a head, The Forest.

He wrote to Pierre Matisse in 1950, “To my great surprise the composition with nine figures seemed to create the feeling experienced the previous autumn of the view of a clearing (it was more a slightly wild meadow, with trees and shrubs, at the edge of the forest) which I found very appealing. I wanted to paint it, to make something of it and I left regretting losing it…”. (letter to Pierre Matisse, 28 December 1950)

Alberto Giacometti (1901 - 1966)

Aimé Maeght was his art dealer. The artist’s first exhibition was presented at the Galerie Maeght in Paris in 1951. Working with Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, Alberto Giacometti would donate exceptional works, from the first works with surrealist influence until works at the end of his life in the 60s. The Foundation possesses the largest collection of the artist in Europe, with the Zurich Kunsthaus and the Fondation Giacometti in Paris. 

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