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Alberto Giacometti - Toward the Ultimate Figure
Cleveland Museum of Art
March 11, 2022


The latest exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art is called Alberto Giacometti - Toward the Ultimate Figure.

Cleveland Museum of Art Giacometti poster


The exhibition Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure gathers an ensemble of masterpieces focusing on the artist's major achievements of the postwar years (1945-66). Combining all media-sculpture, painting, and drawing-the show of 60 works draws upon the deep resources of the artist's personal collection and examines a central, animating aspect of his oeuvre: his extraordinary, singular concern for the human figure. Co-organized by the Fondation Giacometti in Paris and the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibition will also be presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Seattle Art Museum; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. So we are very fortunate to have it here in Cleveland and first.

Watch a short video tour of the Giacometti Exhibition



Giacometti (1901-1966)was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. His work was particularly influenced by artistic styles such as Cubism and Surrealism. While Giacometti was a key player in the Surrealist art movement, his work resists easy categorization. Some describe it as formalist, others argue it is expressionist or something else. To my layman's eyes it is very unique - and interesting.

The Cage by Giacometti

The Cage by Giacometti


If you are expecting typical sculptures of people that look just like them, you will be surprised. Giacometti is best known for the bronze sculptures of tall, thin human figures that often look emaciated. Giacometti once said that he was sculpting not the human figure but "the shadow that is cast".

So when you look at this sculpture called Woman of Venice from the front it's so thin that you hardly see anything.

Giacometti's Woman of Venice


But when you go to the side you see much more.

Giacometti's Woman of Venice


Or how about this called Tall Thin Head from 1954? Here it is from the front - hardly able to see anything.

Giacometti's Tall Thin Head


But when you move to the side you see this.

Giacometti's Tall Thin Head

That's one really big reason to visit the exhibition in person if you can rather than looking at photos. Almost everything is set up so you can walk around all sides of the sculptures.

Here are a few of my favorites to give you a taste.

The Glade from 1950 has 9 very thin women figures in an opening in a forest, a glade.

The Glade by Giacometti

The Glade by Giacometti


The Forest by Giacometti is similar. It has 7 elongated women figures when you look at it from the front.

The Forest by Giacometti

The Forest by Giacometti


When you move a little you will see the head of a man in the back right.

The Forest by Giacometti


The Standing Woman is the biggest piece in the exhibition. She is about 8' 11" tall

Standing Woman by Giacometti

Standing Woman by Giacometti

Standing Woman by Giacometti


My second favorite is Walking Man. He's almost 6' tall.

Walking Man by Giacometti

Walking Man by Giacometti

Walking Man by Giacometti

I think my favorite is The Nose from 1947-49. Notice the head is in a cage but that long nose sticks out. The mouth is open as if screaming in torment.

The Nose by Giacometti

The Nose by Giacometti


This is a unique and fun exhibit. I concentrated on the sculptures in this visit but there are paintings and drawings as well. I learned a lot and expect I will learn more on my next visit.

The CMA recommends reserving tickets online by visiting the Alberto Giacometti exhibition webpage.

Tickets can also be reserved by phone at 216-421-7350 or on-site at one of the ticket desks.

I have to add that when you visit the exhibition you will get a large, illustrated catalog written by internationally recognized scholars at the Fondation Giacometti and curators of the museums. It's definitely worth a visit.

See more about the The Eyewitness Views exhibition







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