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Giacometti From tradition to avant-garde
From 14 September 2018 to 2 February 2019

In September 2018, the Musée Maillol focus on the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti and present—in collaboration with the Fondation Giacometti in Paris—an overview of his oeuvre, complemented by works by the major classical and modern sculptors of his time.

The exhibition present more than 50 sculptures by the artist, all of which are from the Fondation Giacometti collection, complemented by around 25 works by other major artists such as Rodin, Bourdelle, Maillol, Despiau, Brancusi, Laurens, Lipchitz, Zadkine, Csaky, and Richier.

Giacometti: from one style to another

Via a chronological and thematic itinerary, the exhibition highlight Giacometti’s relations with these artists at each stage of the development of his style. The itinerary thus shed new light on the little-known pre-war period: the first section of the exhibition is devoted to Giacometti’s early works, which still bear the influences of classical modernism (Despiau and Maillol), and then another larger section will be devoted to the discovery of the Parisian avant-garde artists after 1925 (Zadkine, Lipchitz, and Csaky).

The lure of abstraction, on the fringe of surrealism, is highlighted via fascinating comparisons (Brancusi and Laurens). The exhibition focus on the artist’s return to figurative work based on the study of models and explore his mature style. There is many thematic comparisons with Rodin, Bourdelle, and Maillol: the motif of the head, the bases of the works, and inspiration from early antiquity.

A dialogue between sculptures

The major post-war themes (groups of figures, standing women, and walking men) is explored, from their origins in surrealism with Walking Woman (1932) to the iconic works of the 1950s–60s, such as La Clairière (1950), Woman of Venice III (1956), and Walking Man II (1960). Giacometti’s formal orientations are analysed in a novel way via comparisons with various well-known artists, in particular Rodin, and with some of his contemporaries, such as Richier.

To guide the general public, the itinerary is enriched with a selection of graphic arts and archive documents. Echoing Aristide Maillol’s studio, which has been recreated within the museum, Giacometti’s legendary Parisian studio will also be evoked via an ensemble of the artist’s lithographs and photographs taken by some of the greatest twentieth-century photographers, such as Brassaï, Denise Colomb, Sabine Weiss, and Herbert Matter.


Co-organized with the Fondation Giacometti, Paris

Organized with the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture

Organized with the support of Swiss Embassy 

L'équipe du projet artistique

General curatorship

A heritage curator and art historian, Catherine Grenier has been the Director of the Fondation Giacometti since 2014 and President of the Institut Giacometti. Formerly Assistant Director at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou, she has curated more than thirty exhibitions of modern and contemporary artists.
Since joining the Fondation she has organised and co-organised unprecedented exhibitions of Giacometti’s works in fifteen countries and in famous institutions such as the Tate Modern and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She has also contributed to presenting Giacometti’s oeuvre for the first time in countries where it has never been exhibited, in particular in the Pera Museum in Istanbul, the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Musée Mohammed VI in Rabat, the Seoul Art Centre in Seoul, and in the Musée National des Beaux-Arts in Quebec. She was the curator of the first exhibition that highlighted the link between Giacometti and Picasso, presented in the Musée National Picasso-Paris and Doha Fire Station in Qatar.
She has written a biography of Giacometti that has just been published by Éditions Flammarion.

Associate curator

Assistant curator, and an art historian, Thierry Pautot is Head of Research at the Fondation Giacometti. A specialist in the decorative arts, he is also director of the Catalogue Raisonné des Arts Décoratifs d’Alberto Giacometti.


Agnès Wolff, Head of Cultural Production, Astrid Grange, Exhibition Manager at the Musée Maillol, Hélène Sarreau, Exhibition Registrar at the Musée Maillol, and Livia Leres, who is responsible for iconography at Culturespaces


Éric Morin is an architect-scenographer. He is a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Nantes. As a plastician and architect, he has specialised in the field of museography and the scenography of cultural exhibitions for around twenty years. In each project, he creates a link between the museographic content and the architectural characteristics of the exhibition areas. He has focused on various fields during the realisation of his projects: architectural heritage, social and historical subjects, and ancient, modern, and contemporary art.