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Standing Figure

Accession Number

Standing Figure

Alberto Giacometti; Fonderie d'Art Fonderie Susse

Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support

27 9/16 in x 7 1/16 in x 9 1/8 in (70.01 cm x 17.94 cm x 23.18 cm);27 9/16 in x 7 1/16 in x 9 1/8 in (70.01 cm x 17.94 cm x 23.18 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
March 28, 2009
Giacometti often proclaimed his interest in exploring in sculpture his ideas about vision and perception, and particularly in rendering in three dimensions the phenomenon of vanishing point perspective so easily captured in painting. Notwithstanding his own description of his formal concerns, by the late 1940s, Giacometti was widely regarded as the artist who best represented Existential angst in the aftermath of the two World Wars. Some scholarship suggests that the skeletal thinness of his figures during this period was a manifestation of working through trauma from the ever-increasing flow of evidence from the Nazi concentration camps; the artist is also said to have begun to sculpt in this style soon after he visited the exhibition “Art and Resistance” (1946), where he would have seen grisly images of emaciated prisoners and piles of naked corpses, some drawn and painted by his friend and neighbor Boris Taslitsky, who had been interned at Buchenwald. While we cannot know if Giacometti is directly referencing these powerful images, his work was produced in a historical moment deeply affected by them, and they heavily influenced the prevailing interpretation of his sculpture.

Subject matter
Giacomett's tall thin figures are often described as visualizing the fragility and the resilience of the human body in the aftermath of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Before WWII, Giacometti worked primarily in a Surrealist style and only moved to this new figurative modernism after the war. Influenced by Jean-Paul Sartre and Existentialism, Giacometti wanted to visually express the metaphysical desolation and despair that Existentialism tried to recognize and address.

Physical Description
An elongated female nude figure with minimal features stands on a small rectangular base with left foot slightly forward. The metal has a texture resembling molten wax.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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biomorphic abstraction
figures (representations)
modern and contemporary art
women (female humans)

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& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ FFW, Mezzanine ➜ M01 (Joan and Robert Tisch Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art)