Femme nue et cavalier dans un paysage
Alberto Giacometti viewed plaster as evocative and pliant material highly effective in communicating his sculptural ideal. For many sculptors, plaster was simply a step in the process of the lost wax cast method. Yet, in the hands of Giacometti, it is a celebrated medium that relays a unique softness and a serene sense of movement.
The nature of the plaster provides the current panel with softness and fluidity, weightlessness or other worldliness, only seemingly possible within this fragile and tactile medium.
The plasters created by Giacometti reveal a comparative closeness to the artist’s creative process. Works rendered in plaster exist throughout Giacometti’s oeuvre emerging in his early sculptures and bas-reliefs, such as the current lot, and later in postwar sculptures. Giacometti modeled the initial plasters by hand and with modest tools. The appeal of the medium was that it allowed him a freedom to return and later sculpt or tint the material. The plaster was then used to create the mold which would serve as the basis for the cast bronze sculpture. Subtle handwork and rich modeling details are readily visible in the plasters. Some expressions such as Tete qui regarde from 1928 exist only in the plaster medium. Other subjects have survived in plaster and in limited edition bronze sculptures.
Giacometti often explored the male and female form, yet the plaster medium deftly conveys the lonely human condition that dominated his body of work. The solitude of the sculptures of this period begin to show his deviation from the surrealist aesthetic and return to more figural representations after 1934. The handling of the figures with softened profiles in austere surroundings led critics, such as Waldemar George, to regard these works as “excavated objects” in review. The nature of the plaster provides the current panel with softness and fluidity, weightlessness or other worldliness, only seemingly possible within this fragile and tactile medium.
An example of this subject rendered in bronze is in the collection of the Fondation Giacometti in Paris.