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Alberto Giacometti’s “The Chariot” – How an Artist Creates

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WHAT IS THE “CREATIVE PROCESS?”

Looking at Giacometti’s sculpture, The Chariot, we ask, “Where did this idea come from, Wwat influenced its creation?”  The creative process of an artist remains a mysterious thing beyond normal comprehension. Even when described directly by the artist, the process defies “rational” comprehension.

GIACOMETTI AND THE TINY SCULPTURES

When we think of Giacometti’s sculptures, we think of them as grand, as almost life sized. Indeed,  the “Walking Man” series is just that – large, elongated, and somewhat abstract. However there was a significant period in the sculptor’s life when all the sculptures he made were tiny, so tiny that Giacometti carried several of them them in a match box at the same time!

According to the biographer, James Lord, Giacometti’s quest or compulsion at that time was due, in part, to his need to diminish the human figure to

“the least common denominator of the visible. It also withstood [his] destructive impulse which reduced most of the others to dust. All the sculptures made by Giacometti during the wartime years in Switzerland were tiny save one.That one is almost sized … The Chariot is the name the sculptor gave to this work.”   – James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, 227 – 228, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1983).

THE CHARIOT AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

As described by  ArtNet,

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot. Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, with foundry mark Alexis Rudier Fondeur Paris and numbered 2/6. Conceived and cast in 1950. Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot. Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, with foundry mark Alexis Rudier Fondeur Paris and numbered 2/6. Conceived and cast in 1950.
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s.

 

“Giacometti’s Chariot (conceived and cast in 1950) is a unique painted cast depicting a goddess perched  atop a chariot with large wheels. According to Sotheby’s, it is one of only two examples that remain in private hands and has been in the same private collection for over four decades. It will be the first Chariot to appear at auction in more than 30 years. Though Sotheby’s has not released a firm estimate, Simon Shaw cited the $104.3 million price achieved for Homme qui marche I in 2010, and said: “we believe that Chariot could sell for in excess of $100 million.” Ibid.

“In 1947, Giacometti told his dealer Pierre Matisse: “I saw the sculpture before me as if already done.” In addition to Surrealism, the artist was also inspired by antiquity, including an Egyptian chariot he had seen at the Archeological Museum in Florence. Six casts of Chariot were made during the artist’s lifetime, according to Sotheby’s. Giacometti embellished the patina of certain bronzes by painting directly on the sculpture’s surface. The cast for sale is one of only two painted examples.”

THE CHARIOT

After all this explanation, perhaps the best we can say is that The Chariot speaks for itself. There is one at MoMA

H/T ArtNet
ArtDaily

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