30/11/14 Aggiornato il:

Augusto Giacometti ~ Abstract painter




Augusto Giacometti is one of the famous Giacometti dynasty of artists from Stampa Village in Val Bregaglia. Alberto Giacometti’s father, Giovanni Giacometti, was a second cousin. Giovanni completed his artist’s training in Munich, while Augusto studied at the College of Applied Arts in Zurich. Nine years his senior, Giovanni returned to Val Bregaglia after completing his studies and worked there for the rest of his life, whereas Augusto pursued a very different artistic career. After spending pivotal years in Paris, he worked in Florence until the First World War and then moved to Zurich. However, his home village played a key role in his art as a motif right into his late years.


The Swiss painter Augusto Giacometti (1877-1947) made color the focus of his art. In a magnificent display of color with some 130 exhibits, the Kunstmuseum Bern is mounting an overview of the work of this pioneer of Abstraction. On show will be loans from leading Swiss and international museums, artworks from private collections that have never been on public view before, as well as pieces from the Kunstmuseum Bern Collection.
The real focus of Augusto Giacometti’s art is his preoccupation with color as a medium for expression and design. His talent for colors is very conspicuous already in his early works, which were still largely Art Nouveau in style. And this master of color was to ultimately become a pioneer of abstraction in art.











An Independent Swiss Painter of European Importance
The show is mounting some 130 exhibits, presenting an overview of all the phases of Augusto Giacometti’s artistic career. We are showing his trail-blazing pieces of abstraction as well as the magnificently colored flower still lifes, landscapes and cityscapes executed by the master of color later on in his career. And, not least, the exhibition is bringing Giacometti’s glass-window painting as a direct and pure medium for handling light and color. Among other pieces, Giacometti's glass windows from the “great minster”, Grossmuenster Zurich, will be on show via livestream video. The presentation also palpably conveys the message of how important Giacometti was as a painter in a pan-European context. The show additionally highlights the independent path he pursued in art by comparing it to a selection of works by other masters of color, ranging from Paul Cézanne to Jerry Zeniuk.





Renowned Lenders and Never-yet-been-shown Works
The Kunstmuseum Bern cultivates a long tradition of monographic exhibitions of modernist Swiss artists of both genders. In the same vein we have presented a whole series of solo exhibitions in the last years for artists such as Giovanni Giacometti, Ferdinand Hodler, Otto Nebel, Meret Oppenheim and Félix Vallotton. Taking works from our own collection as the basis, we were able to enhance this selection with loans not only from leading Swiss museums, such as the Buendner Kunstmuseum and the Kunsthaus Zurich, but also the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Many of the pieces from private collections have never been on show to the general public before. They too will be reproduced for the first time in the catalogue, which will likewise contain the latest findings in scholarly research on the life and work of Augusto Giacometti. For example, it is publishing the original manuscript for Giacometti’s radio lecture that was entitled “Color and I”, wherein, in 1933, the artist formulated his reflections on the fundamental principles and the potential of color.















































Giacometti, Augusto [nascita 16.8.1877 Stampa - morte 9.6.1947 Zurigo, rif., di Stampa]. Figlio di Giacomo e di Marta Stampa, contadini. Cugino di secondo grado di Giovanni. Celibe. Frequentò le scuole a Stampa, Zurigo e Coira. Dal 1894-1897 si formò alla scuola di arti applicate di Zurigo come insegnante di disegno. Nel 1897, profondamente impressionato dal libro dell'artista liberty Eugène Grasset La plante et ses applications ornementales, si trasferì a Parigi per seguire i corsi della scuola nazionale di arti decorative e dell'Acc. Colarossi, completando in seguito la sua formazione nell'atelier di Grasset. Dal 1902-1915 soggiornò a Firenze, dove si appassionò ai maestri del primo Rinascimento e dal 1908 tenne corsi di disegno figurativo all'Acc. intern., un ist. privato fondato dallo scultore Joseph Zbinden di Lucerna. Nel 1915 si trasferì a Zurigo (trascorrendo i mesi estivi a Stampa), dove fece la conoscenza dei collezionisti Richard Kisling e Alfred Rütschi e dove visse fino alla morte.
Nel 1898 realizzò piccoli pastelli astratti e opere di ascendenza giapponista e liberty. Dopo i lavori degli anni 1901-07, improntati al primo Rinascimento it. el al simbolismo (La notte, 1903), la pittura di G. raggiunse il suo vertice negli anni 1912-17 con dipinti di grande formato astratti e tachisti (Piena estate, 1917). Dal 1918-1940 rinunciò all'uso di valori plastici e spaziali per concentrarsi sul puro studio del colore. Nel 1917 frequentò i Dadaisti; dal 1918-1920 fu membro del sodalizio artistico Das Neue Leben. Fonte di ispirazione delle sue opere furono pure le impressioni raccolte durante i viaggi a Parigi, in Italia (Ricordo dei primitivi it., 1927), Germania, Olanda, Inghilterra, Norvegia e Africa del nord. Dal 1929 ottenne diversi incarichi pubblici per dipinti murali e vetrate in edifici profani e sacri (tra cui le vetrate del Grossmünster di Zurigo). Realizzò anche alcuni manifesti. Nell'ultimo periodo della sua produzione (dal 1940), segnato da un ritorno allo stile naturalistico, dipinse nature morte con fiori, paesaggi ed autoritratti (Autoritratto II, 1947). Fu membro (1934-47) e pres. (1939-47) della commissione fed. delle belle arti. / ©  Dizionario Storico della Svizzera