World's first Giacometti Institute opens in Paris this summer.


That's exciting news I found on the website of Architectural Digest. Fortunately, many of us tribal art friends are in Paris in summer anyway because of the Parcours des Mondes ... a fascinating event which I warmly recommend to all visitors of this site. See you in Paris (11.-16.9.18)!

In 1922, Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti went to study in Paris, but fell in love with the city and never left. Now, the Giacometti Foundation in Paris will honor the figurative artist at the new Giacometti Institute, which opens its doors on June 20 (coinciding with the Giacometti retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York on June 8). Boasting a collection of 350 sculptures, 90 paintings, and over 2,000 drawings, it is showing unfinished artworks from the artist’s final days alongside a reconstruction of the artist’s Parisian studio.

 

“We didn’t want a museum, we are not rich enough, and we don’t get support from the state,” said Catherine Grenier, director of the foundation. “Paris has so many museums, I thought, What about an institute? We want to show art with more intimacy than a museum.”

 

It all started in 2014, when Grenier, the former codirector of the Centre Pompidou, was introduced to the artist’s oeuvre. “I saw the art in storage and realized it was a fantastic collection,” she said. “It’s like a little time capsule.”

 

It was also a practical move, as several pieces in the collection are so fragile they cannot be shipped to exhibit elsewhere. Approximately 20 plaster and clay pieces from the 1960s will sit on permanent display in Paris.

 

They’ll be accompanied by a full-scale reconstruction of the artist’s cavelike studio, including his last artworks. The studio space is so small (240 square feet), only 30 people can enter every 30 minutes. “When he died, everyone wanted to see his studio, it was very unique and very small,” said Grenier. “The studio is the heart of the institute.”

 

Giacometti’s actual former studio is located at 46 rue Hippolyte-Maindron, but after the artist died, it was renovated into an apartment (today, it’s a nondescript white stucco building with a blue door, though it does commemorate the artist with a plaque).

 

The new institute is down the street in a 1914 building, a 3,700-square-foot space renovated by architect Pascal Grasso. “We wanted a place that was in Montparnasse because Giacometti was always in that area,” said Grenier. “If he wasn’t working in the studio, he was at a local café.”

 

It was where Giacometti mingled with Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, and André Breton. “We hope people learn not only about Giacometti, but his time and his artist and writer friends,” said Grenier. “We want to give access to his archive with more intimacy than usual.”