GIACOMETTI: A Biography by James Lord


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A major biography of one of the great sculptors of our time. Lord, who turned a chance encounter with Giacometti in 1952 into a lifelong obsession, here gives us a story of a life lived purely for art, and in the process he has gone far towards giving the reader an understanding of the creative process itself. His approach is warts-and-all. And Giacometti's warts--his incomprehensible mean-spiritedness to the women in his life, particularly his wife, his sexual obsessiveness, his destructive tantrums--stand out here. But they are the warts of genius. Lord mixes the documentary with the spiritual in recounting those momentary flashes when Giacometti would suddenly, as if transfixed, see a whole new way of viewing his world. How quickly, then, his sculptures would adapt to his new vision, be it Cubist or Surreal, or his own elongated, flat-planed figures (or portions of figures--as in The Leg). Lord does not pretend to have been an intimate of Giacometti's. But one gets the distinct impression upon reading this biography that he nevertheless got a rare glimpse into the soul of a genius. Along the way, we get many little side-biographies of the great cultural figures with whom Giacometti shared his days and nights--Sartre, Genet, Picasso, and many more. Lord has written, all in all, a much more personal view of Giacometti than have the more conventional biographers, such as Jacques Dupin. The result is a definitive biography.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux