Alberto Giacometti was one of the most iconic sculptors of the last century. His brother Diego, one year younger, who loved nature and had a wild spirit, was there by his side. They were sons of a Swiss painter, so they were both introduced to art from birth. Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti, a picture book biography by iNK author Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, lavishly illustrated by Hadley Hooper, shows how these brothers tackled life and art as a team and left the world an extraordinary body of work.
Becoming an artist requires a lot of study and experimentation and, yes, failure. Alberto is influenced in Paris by his surrealist artist friends who believe art should express imagination, not reality. Alberto tries it for a while, as Diego starts doing carpentry. World War II intervenes. A discouraged Alberto goes home to Switzerland while Diego toughs out the war in Paris guarding their studio. Upon Alberto's return to Paris after the war and the arrival of his soon-to-be wife Annette, Alberto starts sculpting something never before seen.
"Alberto's skeletal, lonely figures are survivors. They rise up courageously from these ruins of war. People are moved by the truth in Alberto's sculptures. They express a new spirit in art."
But Alberto does not create these sculptures alone. "Diego fashions thin constructions of wire to support the willowy figures. He builds bases to balance them on their outsized feet......His hand touches every sculpture." Fame and fortune come to Alberto but he dies too soon.
Yet Diego carries on alone: "As if his hands decide for him, he starts making more objects, furniture so magical that one sees sculpture and forgets its function."
Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan have crafted a poetic story as true and lean as a Giacometti sculpture. At the back of the book is a photo of Alberto's famous "Walking Man" with suggestions about how to look at it and what can be seen. What can't be seen in Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti, but can be felt throughout, is the love and devotion between two brothers and the authors' and illustrator's love and respect for their legacy.
Publication date: April 23, 2019