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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Femme de Venise II

Photo: Spike Mafford / Zocalo Studios. Courtesy of the Friday Foundation

Femme de Venise II


Alberto Giacometti

Swiss, 1901-1966

Alberto Giacometti’s mature style, of which Femme de Venise II is an example, was predicated on a new concept of the figure, which he developed during and after World War II. The hieratic stance and the artist’s characteristic use of a heavy, rectangular pedestal are derived from studies of ancient Greek and Egyptian statues.

The Women of Venice were a group of ten upright silhouettes made for the French Pavilion of the 28th Venice Biennale in 1956. Giacometti created approximately fifteen figures, modeled in clay and cast in plaster by his brother and frequent assistant, Diego Giacometti. Of these, he selected ten plaster casts for the Biennale. Some of the Women of Venice were closely related to life studies from the model, while others were marked by a greater degree of abstraction. Within this group, Femme de Venise II is among the most abstract, with both arms melting into the body. Only nine of the Women of Venice were later cast in bronze.
47 3/8 x 5 3/4 x 12 7/8 in. (120.2 x 14.8 x 32.7 cm)
Gift of the Friday Foundation in honor of Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis
Provenance: The artist; [Galerie Maeght, Paris]; [Sidney Janis Gallery, New York]; acquired from the above by Jane and Richard E. Lang, Seattle, 1975; Friday Foundation, Seattle, 2018; Seattle Art Museum, 2020
Photo: Spike Mafford / Zocalo Studios. Courtesy of the Friday Foundation
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryNew York, New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Picasso to Pollock: Two Generations, 1967. Cat. no. 37, reproduced.

New York, New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Giacometti-Dubuffet, 1968. Cat. no. 5, reproduced.

New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Twentieth Century European Art, 1970. Cat. no. 41, reproduced.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Alberto Giacometti: Sculptor and Draftsman, July 27 - Sept. 3, 1978, organized by the American Federation of Arts (traveled to Purchase, Neuberger Museum, State University of New York; Wichita, Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas; Sarasota, Florida, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Austin, University Art Museum, University of Texas; Denver Art Museum; Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Art Center; Jacksonville, Florida, Jacksonville Art Museum; Newark Museum) [Femme de Venise II shown in Seattle only].

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The Richard and Jane Lang Collection, Feb. 2 - Apr. 1, 1984. Cat. no. 11, p. 25, reproduced.

Los Angeles, California, David Tunkl Fine Art, Definitive Moments of the 20th Century, Sept. 20 - Oct. 8, 2001.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, SAM at 75: Building a Collection for Seattle, May 5 - Sept. 9, 2007.
Published ReferencesA Community of Collectors: 75th Anniversary Gifts to the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum and University of Washington Press, 2008. Reproduced p. 105.

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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