The world’s Largest Giacometti’s Retrospective
Yuz Museum and Fondation Giacometti Warm Up

For the China Premiere Exhibition of
the greatest sculptor of the 20th century

March 22, 2016 – opening countdown

An artist acclaimed by the world’s community of artists because he embodied the spirit of modernism into his epoch.

Giacometti: One of the highest record makers in the global art market of the recent times.

With 250 masterpieces ranging from 1917 to 1966, a comprehensive overview of the artist’s life-length career with a presentation of the artist’s time: culture and life.

An exhibition curated by Catherine Grenier in collaboration with Christian Alandete specially designed for the spectacular Yuz Museum space.

One of the major exhibitions of 2016 endorsed by the Chinese and the French governments to support a joint effort of the world’s top art experts.

Alberto Giacometti’s Retrospective exhibition will land in Yuz Museum, Shanghai in March, 2016. It is not only the first Giacometti exhibition in China, but also the world’s largest retrospective to date, after Paris – Centre Pompidou (2007). In May 2015, Yuz Museum and Fondation Giacometti held a signing ceremony in Beijing State Guesthouse, witnessed by representatives of the governments of France and China, and in October they announced the exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts in London. After that the Yuz Museum has recently launched a series of public programs and communication activities to warm up the exhibition.

Alberto Giacometti, one of the greatest sculptors and artists of the 20th century, is widely regarded as the embodiment of the spirit of modernism. Artistic images including the sculpture of “walking man” created by him, owning to the depiction of the postwar human psychology and the humanistic spirit of the 20th century, have become immortal masterpieces in the art history. As one of the spokesmen of the modern art of the 20th century, Giacometti has profound impact on the development of the postwar modern art, and has inspired numerous artists of the East and the West. Therefore he is widely recognized as “the artist of the artists”. He has also influenced many Chinese artists` practice as well as their perception to modern art. Besides, Giacometti is one of the world’s most ‘expensive’ sculptor, who has been a constant auction record breaker during the past decade.

Speaking about the figure of the walker, Mr. Budi Tek, founder of the Yuz Musuem says, ‘ he seems to move forward, against all misfortune, toward an unchartered territory of which he is not afraid… It’s that wide freedom of movement that Giacometti’s walking man conveys to me. Today, it is my honor and humble pleasure to be able to bring for the first time to China at the Yuz Museum in the West Bund of Shanghai, the Alberto Giacometti Retrospective. We are proud to be associated with the Giacometti Foundation to contribute to this historical moment in art. The knowledge and emotions, joined together by 250 works by the Master will impose their freedom and authority in the spectacular spaces of the Yuz Museum.’

Giacometti’s retrospective is curated by Catherine Grenier, director of Fondation Giacometti, who previously served as the deputy director of the National Museum of Modern Art – Centre Pompidou, with the associate curator Christian Alandete. The exhibition will present about 250 works owned by the Fondation Giacometti, which becomes a comprehensive overview of the artist’s career spanning half a century, including the most iconic “Walking Man” (1960), “Spoon Woman” 1927 (1953 version), “Walking Woman” (1932), “The Nose” (1947), “The Cage” (1951). The

exhibition covers the entire career of Giacometti from the early years, the cubist and surrealist period all the way to the 1960s’ prolific period. Giacometti’s widely acclaimed works, such as portrait drawings, paintings, manuscripts and other archival material, will provide abundant clues for a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of his art. The extremely tiny works that he created in his 23-square-meter studio in Paris and the later works – huge monumental bronze sculptures created for New York Chase Manhattan Plaza, will form strong visual tension in the scene. The existential spirit and humanism conveyed will become the most thrilling part of the exhibition. The exhibition is not only a comprehensive review of the artist`s creation career, but also tries to reflect the culture and life of an exciting era after the war in the 20th century.

The Yuz Museum has launched a series of public education programs to preheat the exhibition, helping the audience to understand and appreciate the art of Giacometti from multiple angles. Before the opening on March 22, 2016, the public education events held at the Yuz Museum included a first “yuztalk” on Giacometti. Adrien Gardère, the leading scenographer and museographer who is creating a spectacular scenography for the exhibition, had a wonderful conversation with Ashok Adiceam, the director of the Yuz Foundation. By defining the museum, its mission and its spaces, as well as presenting the rules which govern the exhibition design, both shared their experience on 15th November.

Other programs will consist of film screenings, lectures about Giacometti at the China Academy of Art, chinese contemporary artists talk and so on. 50 Chinese artists will participate in the countdown activity “50 ways to see Giacometti”, which will provide a vivid reference and inspiration for the audience to understand and appreciate Giacometti. (See the final schedule on the Yuz Museum’s website and the official accounts release)

In 2016, the 50th anniversary of Giacometti’s death, a series of commemorative exhibitions about this master will be launched worldwide. Paris, Picasso Museum of Art, Zurich, Kunsthaus and other top international art museums will hold exhibitions about Giacometti before the great retrospective at London’s Tate Modern. The retrospective in Yuz Museum, Shanghai is an important station of this round of global commemoration, also the only station in Asia. Compared to other modern art exhibitions, this show is dedicated to presenting a “contemporary” Giacometti. Bringing this modernist master into a contemporary art space, which is converted from a huge aviation hangar, to have an open conversation with today’s audiences and the contemporary art world. The exhibition will also provide strong historical context support to the Yuz Museum’s rich collection of contemporary art.

This Exhibition is made possible by Yuz Foundation, in partnership with Fondation Giacometti, Paris.


(Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966)

Alberto Giacometti was born on 10 October in Borgonovo, a little
village in Italian-speaking Switzerland. He was the first son of the Swiss
Neo-Impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933) and of
Annetta Stampa (1871-1964).
The family moves two kilometres away from Borgonovo to Stampa,
where Giovanni sets up his studio.

Alberto Giacometti spends his childhood in Stampa. He starts drawing and painting at a very young age; his first oil painting is a Still Life with Apples in 1915. He soon tries sculpture as well, and creates his first bust of his brother Diego (1902-1985) in 1914-15. His brother Bruno (1907-2012) and sister Ottilia (1904-1937), as well as his mother, will also sit for him.

He interrupts his studies at the secondary school and enrols in the École des Beaux-Arts, and then in the École des Arts et Métiers in Geneva, where he takes sculpture classes.

First trip to Italy; Alberto accompanies his father to Venice, when Giovanni was appointed as commissioner for Switzerland in the Biennale jury. Alberto is enthusiastic about Tintoretto; he travels to Padua, where he discovers Giotto. During his second trip to Italy, he visits Florence and Rome.

Giacometti arrives in Paris in January to attend the Académie de la Grande Chaumière (until 1925), studying under Antoine Bourdelle.

He sets up his first studio rue Froidevaux. The impossibility of sculpting and painting what he sees leads the artist to reject realism and the working from life.

He settles in a studio at 46 rue Hippolyte-Maindron where he will remain until the end.

Giacometti takes part in the Salon des Tuileries, exhibiting The Couple and Spoon Woman.

He met Jean Cocteau, the de Noailles and André Masson, introducing him into the Surrealist circles.

His brother Diego joins him in Paris definitively. Together, they start to create useful objects for decorator Jean-Michel Frank.

He becomes a member of André Breton’s Surrealist movement, participating in its activities, publications and exhibitions.

First solo exhibition in Paris, at the Pierre Colle gallery.
First solo exhibition in New York, at the Julien Levy gallery.
The artist goes back to working from life and is expelled from the Surrealist group. His brother Diego sits for him in the morning and Rita, a professional model, in the afternoon. His sculptures become smaller and smaller.

He entrusts Pierre Matisse with the representation of his work in the United States. The Palace at 4 a.m. becomes part of the of the Museum of Modern Art collection in New York, his first piece to be acquired by a museum.

During the Second World War, he takes refuge in Switzerland where he met his to becoming wife Annette.

He returns to Paris, where Diego has preserved his studio as he left it. He reunites with his companions from before the war, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. The artist goes back to sculpting nudes and heads, determined not to let them become too small. Yet despite his best efforts, his figures become longer and thinner.

He has the first solo exhibition of his new works since 1934, at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York. Sartre writes the introduction to the catalogue.

He marries Annette Arm (1923-1993), who becomes one his favourite models.

He presents his first exhibition at the Maeght gallery in Paris, to be followed by other exhibitions in 1954, 1957 and 1961. On this occasion, he creates his first lithographs, published by Maeght in the Derrière le miroir review.

The first retrospectives of his work are held at museums in New York, London and Germany.
It is the start of an intense collaboration, that will continue until his death, with writers and poets illustrating their books and poems with drawings and prints: René Char, Jean Genet, André du Bouchet, Paul Eluard, Jacques Dupin, Olivier Larronde, Lena Leclercq, and Édith Boissonnas.

Giacometti represents France at the Venice Biennale.
Jean Genet writes L’Atelier d’Alberto Giacometti published in Derrière le miroir review and later as an Ernst Scheidegger in 1963.

He’s invited to the Venice Biennale for a solo exhibition of his works and is awarded the Grand Prize for Sculpture. The same year he’s having a major retrospective at the Kunsthaus in Zurich.

Three retrospectives are arranged in London (Tate Gallery), New York (MoMA) and Copenhagen (Louisiana Museum). He’s awarded the National Prize for the Arts by the French Ministry of Culture. With the acquisition of part of the Thompson collection, the Fondation Alberto Giacometti is founded in Zurich.

Giacometti dies of heart failure at Coire Hospital on 11 January and is buried at Borgonovo cemetery.


Download: Children Booklet