Il tempo di Giacometti da Chagall a Kandinsky

Capolavori dalla Fondazione Maeght

Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia

exhibition curated by
Marco Goldin

Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia
16 November 2019 – 5 April 2020

The Exhibition

Alberto Giacometti is one of the most important, or even perhaps the most important, sculptor of the 20th Century, and one of the artists commanding the highest prices at auction. This exhibition was born out of the desire to celebrate this important artist in Italy. The exhibition is made possible by the relevant collaboration of the Fondation Aimé et Marguerite Maeght of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, which lends more than 70 works ranging from the most famous sculptures to drawings and paintings, from the works of Giacometti’s youth in Switzerland, like the beautiful drawings made when he was around ten, to his first sculptures realised when he was just 15, to the Surrealist period and then his maturity.

This exhibition will evoke one of the most interesting cultural adventures of the second half of the 20th Century in Europe and will therefore be an opportunity to reflect on the events that have mostly marked the art of the 1900s.  Aimé and Marguerite Maeght founded in Cannes their first gallery just before the Second World War, but it is in 1945 that they opened the gallery in Paris with an exhibition of new drawings by Matisse. In July1947, Aimé Maeght exhibited, in collaboration with André Breton and Marcel Duchamp, at the International Exhibition of Surrealism, and was welcomed by a great success. Aimé exhibited the works of the up-and-coming artists working in that period in Paris, showing in various occasions works by Kandinsky, Miró, Léger and Chagall, Braque and Giacometti, among others.

In 1946 the Fondation Maeght was inaugurated in Saint-Paul de Vence in a building specifically designed to host modern and contemporary art. The Foundation now holds one of the most important collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures and graphic art of the 20th Century, representing the work of artists that have been connected with the Maeght family for decades. Verona, in the vast rooms of the Palazzo della Gran Guardia, will tell the story of this fantastic adventure in the arts and patronage that has shaped the art world across the world.

The exhibition will be not only a monographic study on the Swiss artist, but also a view of Giacometti’s time in Paris, where he arrived in January 1922.  It is fascinating imagining, in the open space of the main room of the Gran Guardia, the Grand femme debout accompanied by probably the most iconic of Giacometti’s sculptures, L’Homme qui Marche.  In between, the reconstruction, detailed and poetical, of Giacometti’s entire life, with his drawings, the paintings and his famous sculptures such as the busts and heads of the brother Diego, the dog and the cat. A forest of liquefied bronze figures, evolving towards the immediately recognisable female figure of 1956, the Femme de Venise, exhibited with great success at the Biennale of that year. Fondation Maeght owns all the nine versions of this work, and they will all be exhibited in Verona making possible a delicate comparison that rarely has been shown in the world.

While showing the fascinating production of Giacometti, the exhibition will also focus on the artistic climate that the artist was living in France at that time. This will be possible thanks to the exhibition of works from the same collection of the Fondation Maeght, a selection that includes works by Braque, Chagall, Miró, Kandinsky, Derain and Léger, produced between the 1920s and the 1950s, the period Giacometti was living in Paris. These works, often painting of large format, will enrich the pure beauty of the exhibitions rooms while Giacometti’s sculptures will almost walk at their centre.

Beautiful are the words that the artist dedicated to Braque at this latter’s death in 1963: “Of his whole work I look with interest, the curiosity and the greatest emotion, at the small landscapes, the still lives, the bunches of flowers without pretence of these latter years, of each one of these last years. I look at these paintings, almost shy, without heaviness, these naked paintings, this audacity completely different and yet much bigger than the earlier years. Paintings that for me are the real apex of contemporary art with all its contradictions”.

It is from words like these that we can better understand how the exhibition will have meaning not only because of the masterpieces shown, but also thanks to the relationships flourished between the artists, that often thought and talked about each other. Such is art, such is life. Such will be the story told through the artwork.

An important exhibition that will bring together the attention to the philological reconstruction of the amazing history of the art of the 20th Century, a thorough study of the figure of Alberto Giacometti and of his relationships with other important artists of the time, and finally, the reconstruction of the story of the Galley and then the Foundation of the family Aimé and Marguerite Maeght.