Giacometti's work is marked by the influence of African and Oceanic sculpture. By the time Giacometti took an interest in it in 1926, African art was no longer a novelty for the modern artists of the previous generation (Picasso, Derain); it had even become popular to the point of being decorative.
The two works that first brought him to the attention of the public: The Spoon Woman and The Couple, exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries in Paris, testify to the upheaval that this encounter produced in the young artist. In 1928, Giacometti began a series of women and flat heads, whose novelty brought him attention in 1929 and led to his first contract with a gallery, that of Pierre Loeb, which exhibited the Surrealists.
During this period, Giacometti was in contact with Carl Einstein, the author of the seminal book on African sculpture, Negerplastik (1915), and Michel Leiris, who was to become a specialist in Dogon art. Several later works, including some exceptional painted plaster casts and a few paintings, show how non-Western art had a lasting influence on his production. The artist moved away from a naturalistic and academic representation towards a totemic and sometimes hallucinatory vision of the figure, charged with a magical power.
Source Fondation Giacometti
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