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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opens Exhibition of Works by Alberto Giacometti

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition Giacometti: Memory and Presence on view Aug. 31, 2012, through Feb. 8, 2013. The exhibition features more than 80 works in various media from all periods of the Swiss artist’s life.

The exhibition includes sculptures, paintings, prints, drawings and decorative objects by Alberto Giacometti, revealing the aesthetic evolution, emotional power and existential qualities of his work. Pieces are from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art collection as well as the Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung in Zürich and the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation in Paris, which loaned more than 60 works, including rarely seen plasters.

This exhibition, to be seen only at the Bechtler, profiles Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) as one of the titans of 20th-century modernism. Designed chronologically, it captures Giacometti’s artistic maturation from youthful explorations to his greatest achievements.

Highlighted in the exhibition are seven plasters on loan from the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation. Sculpture plasters are fragile and are rarely seen in exhibitions. Giacometti: Memory and Presence presents plasters side-by-side with the resulting sculptures. The plasters give viewers a sense of the intended qualities of the work, often fashioned by the artist’s own hand, and how those characteristics are revealed in a bronze.

After exploring many of the most important art movements and approaches, such as Cubism and Surrealism, Giacometti developed his own profoundly influential style that was insightful, philosophical, mystical and charged by an unending inquiry into the fundamental nature of our existence. He had a compulsive approach to drawing and considered it to be at the heart of all his activities. He drew people and images again and again, capturing a special animating quality. Throughout the latter half of his career, efforts to commit his vision to canvas and sculpture consumed him.

Audiences will experience the sense of intimacy Giacometti conveyed in much of his work. On view are images that represent his close bond with his two brothers, Diego and Bruno, and his parents, Giovanni and Annetta, as well as his wife and frequent model, Annette. To examine those key relationships further, the exhibition includes pieces created by Giacometti’s father and brothers, significant artists in their own right.

Finally, the exhibition illustrates Alberto Giacometti’s relationships with some of the most important cultural and intellectual leaders in Europe before and after World War II – philosophers, publishers, poets and artists – as well as collectors and patrons. One of his significant friendships was with the Bechtler family.

Hans Bechtler (father of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art patron Andreas Bechtler) met Alberto Giacometti in 1957 while purchasing a sculpture by the artist at a Paris gallery. That work, Femme Assise (Seated Woman), and its corresponding plaster are included in Giacometti: Memory and Presence, along with other Giacometti works acquired by Hans and his wife, Bessie. Hans went on to serve as founding president of the Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung in Switzerland for 25 years and was a champion of Giacometti’s work for the remainder of his life.

Underscoring the relationship between the Bechtler and Giacometti families, the exhibition includes works of decorative art by Diego Giacometti, which filled the Bechtlers’ Zürich home, and architectural plans by Bruno Giacometti for a Bechtler home in St. Moritz.

Midway through the exhibition, 17 of Giacometti’s drawings will be replaced with 15 different drawings, which will remain through the end of the exhibition.

The exhibition is organized and curated by the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

The museum acknowledges the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation as the major lender of the exhibition and its director, Véronique Wiesinger, for supporting the effort to bring Giacometti’s works to Charlotte. The Bechtler also acknowledges the Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung at the Kunsthaus Zürich as an additional significant lender.

The exhibition is made possible with a generous grant from Wells Fargo Private Bank. “Wells Fargo Private Bank is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of this noteworthy exhibition,” said Madelyn Caple, Wells Fargo Private Bank Regional Director. “We are proud to demonstrate our continued support of Charlotte’s cultural life by sponsoring a show with incredible works by an artist of this caliber.”

Additional funding is provided by Grant Thornton and Moore & Van Allen. Media sponsorship is provided by WFAE 90.7fm.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art 420 South Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28202 704.353.9200 [email protected]

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