Giovanni Giacometti

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Painter and printmaker. Although not as famous as his son Alberto Giacometti, he ranks as one of Switzerland’s noteworthy early modernists. After secondary school he studied painting in Munich, where he met Cuno Amiet. From 1888 he studied for three years in Paris at the Académie Julian. Between 1894 and 1899 he was encouraged by Giovanni Segantini, from whom he learnt the divisionist technique of systematic parallel brushstrokes. In 1897 the influence of Ferdinand Hodler is evident in Panorama of the Muotta Muragl. Through publications and especially Amiet’s visits, Giacometti assimilated recent stylistic innovations from France. In 1904–5 he developed a more avant-garde style reflecting the flattened forms and bold colors of the Pont-Aven group. In 1907 Giacometti was inspired by the works of Paul Cézanne. In 1907–8 he copied paintings in Swiss private collections by Van Gogh. These sources inspired him to develop more dynamic and assertive brushstrokes, and his mature style, a variant of Fauvism, emphasized two-dimensional space and form and high-keyed, strongly contrasted colors. In 1907–8, inspired by his contact with Die Brücke artists, he began to make woodcuts in the German style, which he often enhanced with colors. Gradually he achieved public recognition, particularly with one-man exhibitions at the Kunsthaus in Zurich (1912) and the Kunstmuseum in Berne (1920). Around 1916 his technique gradually evolved away from vigorous brushwork towards more lyrical description, as in the Sculptor and his Model; this mature style strongly influenced his son Alberto.

Stonebreakers at Lungotevere 1893.Oil on canvas.
Giovanni Giacometti, Pensierosa
Pensiora (Pensive Girl)