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Art Historian Michael Peppiatt Writes About Giacometti’s Studio in New Book

November 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Education & Research

NEW YORK, NY.- Eykyn Maclean announced the publication of art historian Michael Peppiatt’s ‘In Giacometti’s Studio’. The book coincides with their inaugural exhibition “Inside Giacometti’s Studio – An Intimate Portrait”, which has been curated by Peppiatt, author of the critically acclaimed ‘Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma’. 

The book focuses on the creative chaos of the tiny, cluttered studio behind Montparnasse, where Giacometti spent nearly all of the last four decades of his life (1926-66). Peppiatt prefaces his story with a poignant, personal narrative of how as a young man he arrived in Paris with an introduction from Francis Bacon to Giacometti; the encounter was forestalled by the artist’s very recent death, but Peppiatt instead got to know the key people in Giacometti’s world. 

Photo Ernst Scheidegger © Neue Zürcher Zeitung 2010 580x388 Art Historian Michael Peppiatt Writes About Giacomettis Studio in New Book
Photo Ernst Scheidegger © Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 2010

He explains how the studio, now dismantled, seemed to be both Giacometti’s most important artwork, encompassing countless complete or unfinished works, and the archive of years of struggle. With Giacometti’s death, it became his greatest achievement, containing as it did the traces of a lifetime’s search for truth. 

Peppiatt relates how the artist first worked there as a member of the Surrealist movement and then how he gradually made his mark on Paris’ artistic, literary, and intellectual worlds. After an enforced wartime exile in Geneva in a miserable hotel, he returned to Paris and to the same broken-down little shed of a studio behind Montparnasse where he struggled to realise his pared-down vision of mankind. 

Strewn with plaster, sculpting tools, canvases, and paint brushes, the studio was an artistic and intellectual center during an era when Paris was a cultural capital of Europe and a magnet for many of the great artists and writers of the time including André Breton, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud, Marlene Dietrich, and Samuel Beckett, for whom Giacometti created the set design of the Théâtre de l’Odéon’s 1961 production of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” 

Michael Peppiatt is a leading authority on Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon. His biography of Francis Bacon, Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma, a New York Times ‘Book of the Year’, is considered the definitive account of Bacon’s life and work. Critically acclaimed Peppiatt has written extensively on modern art and curated numerous exhibitions. Peppiatt was an art critic at the Observer before moving to Paris and becoming literary editor for Le Monde and arts correspondent for the New York Times and the Financial Times. In 1985 he became editor and publisher of the Parisbased review, Art International. Peppiatt returned in 1994 to London, where he lives with his wife, the art historian Jill Lloyd, and their two children.

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