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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

Giacometti’s unique vision of the human figure emerged during and after the trauma of the Second World War. His slender, erect silhouettes push up against the surrounding space—patently material, they remain elusive. Femme de Venise II is a classic work in a series of standing female figures of different heights and articulation. Giacometti exhibited plaster versions of these figures at the French Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1956 and then selected a smaller group to be cast in bronze. The formal stance references ancient Egyptian and archaic sculpture, which Giacometti had studied in Paris museums as early as 1920. After a decade of experimentation, which included sculptures of miniscule scale on proportionally oversized plinths, he began to make figures reduced to an essential vocabulary that appear on the cusp between representation and abstraction.
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, France]; [Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 1968-1975]; purchased from gallery by Jane and Richard E. Lang, Seattle, Washington, 1975; Friday Foundation, Seattle, Washington, 2018; to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 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.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection, Oct. 15, 2021 - Nov. 27, 2022. Text by Catherine Grenier. No cat. no., pp. 18-19, 34, 106-111, 186, reproduced pp. 20 (fig. 9), 107 (pl. 9), 109 (fig. 46), 182.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics, Dec. 22, 2022 - ongoing.
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 respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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