Man Ray, Le Mannequin dans l'Exposition surréaliste à la galerie Pierre Colle, 1933. Archives de la Fondation Giacometti, Paris

From 25 Feb To 21 Jun 2020

In Search of Lost Works

Institut Giacometti, Paris, France
At the Institut Giacometti

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"In Search of Lost Works" is an investigation into the traces of unpublished works by Alberto Giacometti.
Missing? Not completely, because Alberto Giacometti left clues behind him, precious documented testimonies that allow us today to present, at the Giacometti Institute, little-known and unpublished works. Alberto Giacometti went through many phases of doubt during his career, which led him to tirelessly question his work. Lost, sold or damaged, the works all have their own history. With the help of sketches, notebooks and archival photographs, decisive works are now reconstructed in the exhibition rooms in front of authentic pieces from the same period.

Curator: Michèle Kieffer

Alberto Giacometti and the sculpture Little Man in Plaster, c. 1927
Anonymous photo / Giacometti Foundation Archives, Paris

"Throughout many interviews given mainly from the 1950s onwards, Alberto Giacometti created for himself the mythical character of a man perpetually dissatisfied and prey to daily existential drama. When it proved impossible to come out of the creative impasse, the gesture of destroying the work, and by that gesture, making a clean sweep, became part of the whole character. Legend has it that Giacometti, haunted by dissatisfaction, destroyed his works as he was making them. Only a limited selection might have been taken from his hands at times.
If the testimonies from those closest confirm that the artist was continually questioning his practise, a careful examination of the archives shows however that he didn’t systematically destroy his works. In the accounts he gave his close relations and journalists, he especially referred to his post-war career, while the disappearance of his works was a more common phenomenon in the 1920s and at the beginning of the 1930s. Analysing those years also shows that the voluntary destruction was, in reality, rarely the only explanation for their loss. We are dealing with a varied and complex typology of ‘disappeared’ works and the hand of Giacometti was not always responsible, far from it in fact." 

Michèle Kieffer, Extract from the catalog of the exhibition 

Download the booklet


À la recherche des oeuvres disparues

Editions Fage, Lyon, Fondation Giacometti, Paris 2020

Language: French/English

192 p.
28 €


Midi et quart, histoire de l’art : Mannequin, œuvre disparue d'Alberto Giacometti

Around the exhibition
25 Feb 2020

Open day exhibition

For the opening of the exhibition "In Search of Lost Works", the Giacometti Institute is organizing an open day on Tuesday, February 25 from 10 am to 6 pm. Entrance is free all day.

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26 Feb 2020

Screening of the animated movie "Le Tableau"

As part of the exhibition "In Search of Lost Works", the Giacometti Institute and the Chaplin Denfert art cinema offer a screening of the animated film "Le Tableau" by Jean-François Laguionie on Wednesday, February 26 at 4:00 p.m. The screening will be followed by a discussion session with Alice Martel, Public Officer for the Giacometti Foundation.

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13 Mar 2020


The Giacometti Institute offers an exceptional performance by Ellie Ga, "The catalogue of the lost" at the heart of the exhibition "In Search of Lost Works" on Friday March 13, 2020 at 6.30 pm.

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From 07 Mar To 10 Apr 2020

Family workshop / The surrealist giraffe

Parents and children, from 5 years.
See you on Saturday, March 7 and during April holidays on Tuesday 7, Wednesday 8, Thursday 9 and Friday 10.

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05 Apr 2020

Radio DUUU special broadcast

As part of the exhibition "In Search of Lost Works", the Giacometti Institute is organizing a special program with Radio DUUU on Sunday, April 5 at the Giacometti LAB from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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To search for a work, consult the Alberto Giacometti Database