The Giacomettis - a local family of artists

19 Nov 2023
The striking, elongated, haggard bronze figures are what Alberto Giacometti (1901 - 1966) is best known for, and Zurich is a great place to see them, as the Kunsthaus houses one of the best collections of his work worldwide. Giacometti’s portrait and work adorn today’s 100Sfr banknotes. But Zurich actually has more - more Giacomettis that is. Alberto’s father, Giovanni Giacometti (1868 - 1933), and his cousin Augusto Giacometti (1877 - 1947), were successful artists in their own right. All of them came from mountainous and very poor Val Bregaglia on the southeastern edge of Switzerland.

Some of Giovanni’s (post-)impressionist paintings, mainly of his beautiful mountain home, are on display at the Kunsthaus. Augusto had the strongest connection to Zurich, as he studied and later lived here. Some of his best work is also here. He revitalised the art of stained-glass windows, creating the choir windows in the Grossmünster (1932), the window depicting paradise in the northern transept of the Fraumünster (1945) and windows in the Wasserkirche. The piece of work he made his name with, however, are the murals in the vaulted entrance hall of Zurich’s police headquarters (1923 - 25).


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