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 Augusto Giacometti  (1877 - 1947)

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Lived/Active: Switzerland/Italy      Known for: painting, graphics, mosaic and poster design, teaching

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Ad Code: 1
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE (HOUSE AND GARDEN IN STAMPA)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Antonio Augusto Giacometti, the son of Giacomo and Marta Giacometti Stampa, was born on 16th August 1877 in Stampa, in the Val Bregaglia (Grigioni Canton) in Switzerland.  His second cousin was Giovanni Giacometti, father of Alberto.

From 1894 to 1897 he lived in Zurich, where he gained a diploma as a teacher of drawing at the School of Arts and Crafts.  In the summer of 1897 he went to Paris, where he enrolled at the School of Decorative Arts and studied under Eugène Grasset.  He put his manual skill into practice in graphic decoration based on the floral style pioneered by William Morris.

Augusto took images from painting and used them in artisan work, designing mosaics*, glass, clocks and posters.  From 1902 onwards he lived in Florence, Italy and studied in depth the work of Beato Angelico and all the great Renaissance* masters.  He shared the enthusiasm for the avant-garde* that originated from the Caffè delle Giubbe Rosse in the circle of Papini, Soffici and Prezzemolini.

In a process of gradual emancipation from ornamental art, he used a technique of applying separate colours with a spatula to flattened areas in order to create a range of effects, including the "carpet" and "separate tessera mosaic" effect.  He received his first public commissions in Switzerland in 1914: a mosaic* for a fountain at the University of Zurich and a tempera* canvas portraying the Resurrection of Christ for the church of San Pietro in Coltura.

During the same period he began to produce a series of pastels with total freedom of form, including the Astrazione da un quadro di Fra Angelico.  When the First World War broke out, he was obliged to return to Stampa.  In 1917 he became interested in the dadaist* movement, admiring its spirit of freedom of expression, and appeared in the manifesto of radical artists.

After achieving fame in Switzerland, even in the most bourgeois circles, in 1921-22 Augusto returned to Italy, where he visited Venice, Turin, Milan and Naples.  He subsequently travelled around Europe, seeking fortune in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Holland.  A journey to London in 1928 brought him into contact with William Turner, whom he considered to be the founder of impressionism* not yet fully understood by the critics.

He travelled to Tunisia and Algeria and received numerous public awards in his homeland. The war shook the whole of Europe and brought all the major art exhibitions and markets to a standstill. Augusto Giacometti devoted the later years of his life to writing his autobiography, which was published in 1943 under the title Da Stampa a Firenze. He died on 9th June 1947 from a heart attack.

Source:
Rai Internazionale,  http://www.italica.rai.it/eng/principal/topics/bio/giacometti2.htm

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