Alberto Giacometti à l'Hotel de Rive, 1944, Genève.
Photo : Eli Lotar. Archives de la Fondation Giacometti.

24 Apr 2020

Alberto Giacometti, Hôtel de Rive, Genève. 1942-1945

Live Lecture
By Emilie Bouvard

The Fondation Giacometti's research team is offering a series of online lectures, a new format broadcast live.

Alberto Giacometti at Hotel de Rive, 1944, Genève.
Photo : Eli Lotar. Fondation Giacometti Archives

Alberto Giacometti leaves Paris for Switzerland with a twenty-day visiting permit on 31 December 1941. He failed to receive permission to return to France and spent most of the Occupation period in Switzerland, before returning to Paris in September 1945. He first lived in the apartment his mother shared in Geneva with her son-in-law and grandson Silvio - the child's mother, Ottilia, had died in childbirth a few years earlier. Soon he takes a room in a cheap hotel, the Hôtel de Rive, in order to be more independent. Paradoxically, he, who had returned to his native country, lives like an exile in the small space of his room, which he has converted into a workshop. The cramped conditions seem to be a metaphor for his confinement in Switzerland, far from the Parisian studio in the rue Hippolyte-Maindron, and the works created before the war, which his brother Diego watches over. In this confined space, however, Alberto Giacometti will become the man we know. The tiny figurines he models there begin to stretch out from the massive pedestals from which they seem to emerge. This painful period of estrangement, of doubt, in spite of exchanges and outings with Genevans from Switzerland or exiled from the artistic world, marks a fundamental break in the creative process of Alberto Giacometti.

By Emilie Bouvard, Director of Collections of the Fondation Giacometti 
Lecture in French  

To search for a work, consult the Alberto Giacometti Database