9 of 10 portraits of Alberto Giacometti
by Ida Kar
vintage bromide print, 1954
10 in. x 7 3/4 in. (255 mm x 198 mm)
Artistback to top
- Ida Kar (1908-1974), Photographer. Artist associated with 1567 portraits, Sitter in 137 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Freestone, Clare (appreciation) Wright, Karen (appreciation), Ida Kar Bohemian Photographer, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 March to 19 June 2011), p. 77 Read entry
Swiss-born Giacometti moved to Paris in 1922, where he studied until 1925 under the sculptor Emile-Antoine Bourdelle. In 1926 Giacometti made his first cubist sculptures, and in the late 1920s, at the same time as Kar was living in Paris, he became influenced by surrealism and joined the movement in 1930. Giacometti had his first solo show in 1932, and in the late 1930s his figurative sculptures became very small. It was his post-war work, including the tall figures of 1947-8, that secured his reputation. In the same year in which Kar photographed Giacometti, his second exhibition at Galerie Maeght in Paris was accompanied by an essay by his friend, the exponent of existentialism Jean-Paul Sartre. Also in 1954, Giacometti designed sets for Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and the writer Jean Genet posed for him. In 1956 Giacometti's sculptures of female standing figures were shown at the Venice Biennale, where in 1962 he was awarded the grand prize for sculpture. This photograph was taken on the steps of Giacometti's studio at 46 rue Hippolyte-Maindron, Montparnasse, where he had lived and worked since 1927.
Events of 1954back to top
Current affairsRoger Bannister runs the four-minute mile. Bannister was the first man to achieve the 'miracle mile', a feat that was thought by some to be impossible, beating his rival, the Australian John Landy, to the record. Bannister went on to a career as a distinguished neurologist.
Food rationing ends in Britain.
Art and scienceJ.R.R. Tolkien publishes the first two parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Tolkien was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and literature and drew on his scholarly interests in history, language and mythology to create the fictional land of Middle Earth where the books are set.
Williams Golding publishes, Lord of the Flies.
InternationalThe South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) is established in Bangkok. This international defence organisation was established as part of the 'containment' policy of limiting the influence of communism. SEATO was, however, found to be ineffective as the member organisations failed to agree on combined action; it was disbanded in 1977.
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