Art: An Obsession with Seeing

When Alberto Giacometti died at 65 in his native Switzerland eight years ago, he was already a figure of legend. His seamed casque of a head (like that of a Renaissance condottiere) and his cramped, dust-floured studio in Paris, had become almost as famous as Picasso's simian mask and opulent villas. He was, it seemed, the existentialist answer to Mediterranean man. And as such he appeared to be one of the very few sculptors who, in the 20th century, had discovered a fresh convention for the human body — spindly and eroded, impossibly vertical,...

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