Few people in the world are unfamiliar with the work of Picasso. He is one of the most famous artists of all time, and perhaps the most famous artist of the 20th century. Lesser known, however, is Alberto Giacometti.
Giacometti was a Swiss painter and sculptor, the son of post-impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti, and godson to the Fauvist painter Cuno Amiet. Alberto’s work is often spoken of in comparison to literary existentialism, thanks to the thin, frail sculptures that he became known for. His sculptures, often surreal, dealt mostly with ideas of trauma, and motifs of human suffering are prominent in his work.
His later work began exploring ideas of space, depicting emotions like isolation and melancholy. Bleak, perhaps, but relatable for many, especially in the difficult years of the early 20th century after two world wars left a trail of destruction across Europe. Quietly, he became one of the defining artists of the era.
Measured against his famous contemporaries, Giacometti hasn’t enjoyed the same level of recognition. Until recently, that is.
On Thursday February 23, an exhibition will open at Doha Fire Station, displaying works by both Picasso and Giacometti. It’s the outcome of two years of research undertaken by the Fondation Giacometti and the Musée National Picasso in Paris.
It reveals, for the first time, the relationship that existed between the two artists. Despite their 20-year age gap, Picasso and Giacometti had a close personal and professional relationship.
Curated by Catherine Grenier, director of the Fondation Giacometti, the exhibition displays 120 works drawn from the collections of each organisation, as well as loans from other French and international collections. From paintings, sculptures and sketches to photographs and even interviews with the artists, it includes some of the most key works by both.
It’s the first time these artists have been exhibited in the region, and works such as Picasso’s Self Portrait (1901), Woman Throwing a Stone (1931) and The She Goat (1950) will be on display.
From Giacometti, some of the most notable paintings and sculptures heading to Doha include Flower in Danger (1932), Tall Woman (1960), and Walking Man (1960), presented alongside rare and fragile casts, newly discovered drawings and archival photographs. All of which will be accompanied by a series of lectures, and a self-guided handbook for the visitors.
It’s an exhibition more than suited to Doha – which has long been at the forefront of art in the region – and provides a rare opportunity to get up close to some of the world’s most famous pieces and some of the most intriguing artists in history.
Free. February 23, 2017-May 21; Sat-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri 2pm-10pm. Doha Fire Station, Civil Defense Junction, www.firestation.org.qa (4452 5555).