There, in the 1940s, Giacometti started regularly doing portraits of his mother, Annetta, a woman with a strong personality. Annette Arm, who the artist married in 1949, also became his habitual model, and would pose patiently for hours both in the studio and in the living-room of the family home in Stampa, and also in the different places she went to with the sculptor.
When working, Giacometti was very meticulous about maintaining the position of each sitter and the distance between the artist and the model. The floor of the Stampa studio was therefore full of marks, which were never removed, indicating the exact position of the legs of each model’s chair, his own stool, and the easel. In this way, the artist made sure that on successive days, or the following year if he had not finished the piece during his stay, he could resume the work at exactly the same distance and position.
What makes the Stampa atelier special is that it is both a family home and an artistic space that was shared for years by father and son, and to which the artist later returned to visit his mother and continue his creative work. Among the most outstanding pieces he produced there are some of his gray paintings. “If I see everything in gray,” he said, “and in that gray the multitude of all the colors I feel and would like to display, then why use another color?”
Alberto Giacometti painting a portrait of Annette in the Stampa studio, 1954
Photo: Ernst Scheidegger
© Ernst Scheidegger
Collection Fondation Giacometti, Paris