Nice is currently hosting its first ever exhibition dedicated to the works of Alberto Giacometti in the newly inaugurated Galerie Lympia.
Consisting of a main building with roof terrace and clock tower, this intriguing space used to be a penal colony where prisoners from Villefranche were employed to dig the basins of the harbour, before being turned into a prison in the 19th-century. Since its renovation, it is now a full-blown arts centre, set to welcome major cultural events.
Organized in collaboration with the Giacometti Foundation, the current exhibition is showcasing some fifty major works from the Swiss artist’s final years (1960-1965), including sculptures, paintings, lithographs and drawings that highlight this decisive and relatively unknown period.
After abandoning surrealism and abstraction, Giacometti became famous for his figurative sculptures that resonated with the atmosphere of suffering that followed World War II. As he himself described his work he was not concerned with “depicting someone as we know them, but as we see them”.
Towards the end of his life, he also started to produce an extensive series of portraits, adding new models to his list of muses. This is how the Parisian prostitute, known as Caroline, and the photographer Eli Lotar came to replace the artist’s brother and wife, Diego and Annette, who modeled for most of his great postwar works.
While Giacometti did not travel much, he did come to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on numerous occasions and derived inspiration from the Côte d’Azur. It is now the French Riviera’s turn to pay tribute to an artist who drew its palm trees and seascapes with Giacometti: L’Œuvre ultime.
The exhibit runs until the 15th of October, daily from 10am to 8pm. Admission costs €7 (concessions €5 available).
2, quai d’Entrecasteaux
Tel: +33 4 89 04 53 10
All images courtesy Galerie Lympia; lead image Conception graphique Brigitte Mestrot © Succession Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti + ADAGP) Paris