[Round of couples dancing on a lawn near Stampa]
Date circa 1922
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 12,51 x 14,17 in.
Collection Private collection
The theme of this painting is not very usual in the youth paintings of Giacometti. Rare too are the scenes of celebration and dance in the paintings of his father Giovanni, which had a great influence on the young Alberto. Only one drawing by the latter is known, on the back of a watercolour from around 1920, where characters dancing in a circle are represented. The way of treating the landscape, on the contrary, is wholly typical of the paintings made by Alberto around 1920 in Stampa and in Maloja, in the Swiss canton of Grisons, where the Giacometti family was originally from. The broad brushstrokes and the vivid colours show the interest of the young Alberto in pointillism and German and Swiss pleinairism, through the example of his father Giovanni. One finds in many other landscapes by the young Alberto that same way to represent the mountains of his region: the tops in warm colours immersed in azure and light pink clouds, with small portions of canvas left bare. When he used to work in his father’s studio, at the end of the Tens and the beginning of the Twenties, Alberto most often painted on coarse-grained canvases, like this one. As is visible in many of his youth paintings, he started his composition on canvas with a preparatory drawing with a blue or red paintbrush, whether it was a landscape or a portrait. In this painting, those strokes of the drawing are clearly visible: red for the dancing characters, blue for the landscape. Some of the characters in the middle-distance are solely sketched in those red strokes. The painting is not dated by the artist, but its style, very close to other landscapes painted by Giacometti in 1920 makes it datable between 1918 and 1922: it is indeed from 1918 that Giacometti started to use in his landscape paintings those broad and quick brush strokes of neo-impressionist inspiration, but in 1921-1922, with his first stays in Rome and in Paris, his style clearly evolved, and acquired more and more autonomy with regard to his father’s work. This painting, unsigned, does not appear to have been exhibited in the artist’s lifetime; but it was considered accomplished enough for the artist to offer it to his cousin.
Sale Christie's Zurich (Switzerland), May 27th, 2013, lot n ° 100
Swiss Art, Zurich : Christie's, 2013, lot no. 100, p. 62-63, ill. p. 63