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A Portrait Of James Lord

Painting, 1964, 115.9×80.6 cm

Description of the artwork «A Portrait Of James Lord»

When you make friends with the writer, there is always the danger of falling into the multi-volume memoirs, or at least in a short essay, to become the prototype of the hero, or at least secondary. Alberto Giacometti, in spite of this threat, was close friends with poets, journalists and writers, loved the night-long conversations in a Montparnasse café with a glass of wine or a Cup of coffee. Perhaps because of this daily verbal training or maybe personal inclination to philosophical systematization of their own experiences, Giacometti gave extremely deep and generous interview. They can be safely taken for quotations, every word in them carefully, clearly and consistently builds a belief system, world view and artistic principles in which talking the next minute sincerely doubt. Giacometti is an enviable character biographies.

James Lord, an American writer and journalist, has written a book just about 18 days I spent in the Studio of Giacometti as a model. Moreover, several novels, which were written by the Lord, now gathering dust in some kind of special American library archives of forgotten publications, and his two biographical books on Giacometti and Picasso - became required reading for art historians, the source of ideas for facilitators and, as it turned out, a ready script for feature films. In 2017, according to the book of James Lord British Director Stanley Tucci made the film "the Last portrait" with Geoffrey rush in the role of Giacometti. This is a story about those 18 days of posing and about this very picture.

The film Tucci, and the book of the Lord is the story of the creation of a portrait. Giacometti writes him a year before his death, and each session begins with the words: "This is hopeless! I don't know why I started. I can't paint portraits, no one can. The portrait cannot be finished! Never!" And James Lord are going to see this. Agreeing with the master of a quick portrait in one session, he makes a big mistake and the next day orders a plane ticket to new York. He will have to postpone the flight and force Giacometti to finish the job, almost presenting that ultimatum.

Portraits of close friends, brother and wife, Giacometti began writing after the Second world war - and care little psychological analysis, an attempt to convey the temperament or character of the model, to capture the right gesture or facial expression. Everyone who comes to posing to the artist's Studio, sits on the same chair in the same position as all other, not smiling and not talking. "Expression has always interested me more than anything else. Interested to such an extent that being young and already living in Paris, I stared at the people with whom I was not familiar. They were out of reach. As if I couldn't see what wanted to see. As if everything was covered with darkness. And I couldn't decipher what I saw"- said Giacometti in an interview.

The process of painting colorful portraits were in several documentary Chronicles and it actually resembles the decoding of a complex, intricate message. And code for every new person has to pick up a new one. The younger brother of Diego, the artist decrypts all my life, 40 years of work, hundreds of pounds of clay and hundreds of metres of canvas (1, 2, 3).

The beauty of each portrait painted by Giacometti, is the beauty of mathematical formulas. Only if traditional psychological portrait is the original data with the exact, correct answer, the portraits of Giacometti - a Board, covered with intermediate calculations, complex solution that is crossed out are dead-end branches. This is not a beauty answer, beauty. It is ridiculous to think that we can finish this in 18 days. Portrait impossible to finish. Never.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Expressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1964

Size: 115.9×80.6 cm

Artwork in selections: 7 selections


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