Conservation of The Cage (Grenoble Museum Collection) by the Fondation Giacometti.
Funded by the Fondation, the documentary film described below follows all the stages of documentation and conservation of The Cage, a work by Alberto Giacometti belonging to the Grenoble Museum.
Acquired by the Museum in 1952, this major work created by the artist in 1950 is a painted bronze sculpture representing two figures, the bust of a man on a pedestal and the figurine of a woman. Placed on a solid platform which isolates them from the ground, these two elements are placed in a “cage” which draws a virtual space delimited by a few lines, thus forming at the same time a three-dimensional frame and a theatrical stage.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the Fondation exceptionally offered to the Grenoble Museum to take on the conservation of the work.
The work, in bronze enhanced with the artist’s own oil painting, required conservation conducted in parallel by a specialist sculpture conservator and by a conservator of paintings. The conservation operation allowed accurate restoration of the work’s original appearance in the artist's lifetime, which was known through the documentation.
In the course of its history, Grenoble’s The Cage had undergone three successive restorations in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s (notably following a transport-related incident). It had some minor deformations: the horizontal uprights of the cage were twisted, the figurine was slightly bent, and there were some cracks on the bars and at the foot of the figure.
The conservation carried out by the Fondation made it possible to rectify these deformations, to eliminate the traces of the old restorations (retouching and repainting), and to carry out thorough cleaning (deposits of dust and micro-organisms) in order to restore the polychrome aspect of the work as it appeared during the artist’s lifetime. The conservation also allowed a comparative study with the version belonging to the Fondation’s permanent collection, testimony of a later state of the work (1966).
The Foundation's wide experience in conserving Giacometti's works of all types has been acquired through important conservation and restoration work carried out since 2004 on more than a thousand works from the Fondation's collections (sculptures in clay, plaster and bronze, drawings and prints, and paintings), as well as works belonging to third parties.