Alberto Giacometti was born in Borgonovo, now part of the Swiss municipality of Bregaglia, near the Italian border.

Coming from an artistic background, he was interested in art from an early age. He later attended the Geneva School of Fine Arts. In 1922, he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, an associate of Rodin. It was there that Giacometti experimented with Cubism and Surrealism among his associates Miró, Max Ernst, Picasso, Bror Hjorth and Balthus. Between 1936 and 1940, Giacometti concentrated his sculpting on the human head, focusing on the subjects gaze. This was followed by a phase in which his figures became elongated. Obsessed with creating his sculptures exactly as he envisioned through his unique vision, he often carved until they were as thin as nails. In 1946 his tiny sculptures became larger, and as they grew, the thinner they became. His paintings underwent a parallel procedure. The figures appearing isolated and severely attenuated, as a result of continuous reworking.

In 1962, Giacometti was awarded the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale, which brought with it worldwide fame. Even when he had achieved popularity and his work was in demand, he still reworked models, often destroying them or setting them aside to be returned to years later. In his later years Giacometti's works were shown in a number of major exhibitions in Europe, and despite his declining health, he travelled to the US in 1965 for an exhibition of his works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Works are now held in all major museums worldwide.


Alberto Giacometti, Buste (tête de profil), 1947