Get thee to the Eykyn Maclean gallery(23 East 67th Street) before December 18 for an intimate peek into the mind of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists, Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). What you won’t find is the 104 million dollar man, “L’Homme qui marche I,” the sculpture that hogged the headlines a few months ago when it sold at auction. In fact, almost nothing is for sale. Instead, the exhibit, organized by art historian Michael Peppiatt, made me feel as if the Swiss artist were in the next room smoking a cigarette. I felt guilty snooping through his personal drawings scribbled over the inside covers of books and doddled on a telegram (to Matisse!) and newspapers.
Alberto Giacometti's ballpoint-pen portrait of the artist Vincent van Gogh, 1961
In an art book owned by Giacometti, there’s a face off with Van Gogh (see above). On a torn-out newspaper page reporting on President Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, Giacometti scribbled a beard on Oswald’s face. There are several eye-popping bronzes in the show (see Grande tête mince, above), but for a close encounter with best kind, spend time with the sketches and Peppiatt’s new book, In Giacometti’s Studio (published by University Press). Giacometti never felt more alive.