The artist recalled that the arrangement of figures in this work was arrived at almost by accident. He placed some figures and heads on the floor at random. Later, he “realized that they formed two groups which seemed to correspond to what I was looking for.” Giacometti’s title refers to the final effect, but the inspiration came from elsewhere. The walking men and male busts in his work usually reflect the artist or his brother, Diego. Standing women, more often than not, embody an archetypal female goddess, whom he modeled on the prostitutes he frequented. When Pierre Matisse showed Giacometti’s work at his gallery in 1949, the show created a sensation and immediately established his reputation in New York. The Steinbergs acquired this work out of the next show, held in November 1950.
Inscription: Signed and numbered, proper left edge: A Giacometti 1/6
[Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1950–51; acquired from the artist in December 1950; sold on March 21, 1951 to Steinberg]; Muriel Kallis Steinberg, Chicago (1951–2006; her gift to MMA)
New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Alberto Giacometti," November 1950, unnumbered cat. (p. 21).
Arts Club of Chicago. "Sculpture and Paintings by Giacometti," November 4-December 1, 1953, no. 13.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Alberto Giacometti," June 9–October 10, 1965, no. 36.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Alberto Giacometti," November 5–December 12, 1965, no. 36.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Alberto Giacometti," January 11-February 20, 1966, no. 36.
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Alberto Giacometti," March 10-April 24, 1966, no. 36.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 17, 2007–February 3, 2008, extended to March 2, 2008, no. 31.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Street," March 5–May 27, 2013, no catalogue.
Ernst Scheidegger, ed. Alberto Giacometti: Schriften, Fotos, Zeichnungen/Essais, photos, dessins. Zurich, 1958, pp. 82–83.
Franz Meyer. Alberto Giacometti: Eine Kunst existentieller Wirklichkeit. Stuttgart, 1968, pp. 177–78.
Karlheinz Nowald in Siegfried Salzmann. Alberto Giacometti: Plastiken, Gemälde, Zeichnungen. Exh. cat., Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum. Duisburg, 1977, pp. 91–101.
Monica Meenan. "The Vigorous Collectors." Town and Country 132 (September 1978), ill. p. 148.
Alice Hess. "Great Private Collections: A Chicago Visionary." Saturday Review 7 (October 1980), p. 72, ill. p. 74.
Grace Glueck. "Met Is Given a $12 Million Art Collection." New York Times (December 10, 1980), p. B7.
Hilton Kramer. "Modernist Show Moves Met Firmly into Art of 20th Century." New York Times (May 22, 1981), p. C21.
M. W. Newman. "Chicago." Franklin Mint Almanac 12 (July–August 1981), ill. p. 20 (color, installation photo).
Henry Hanson. "Upfront: East Coast Woos Chicago Collectors." Chicago Magazine (January 1981), p. 14, ill.
Judith Goldman. "Collecting: Vicarious Pleasures of a Daring Painter-Turned-Collector." Vogue (August 1981), ill. p. 50.
Mark Stevens. "A Blossoming at the Met." Newsweek (June 22, 1981), ill. p. 90.
James Lord. Giacometti: A Biography. New York, 1985, pp. 308, 329, 335, 357.
Matti Megged. Dialogue in the Void: Beckett and Giacometti. New York, 1985, p. 52.
William Agee. "Muriel Kallis Newman–Life Among the Moderns." Architectural Digest (December 1986), p. 66, ill. p. 70.
Alberto Giacometti. Écrits. Ed. Michel Leiris and Jacques Dupin. Paris, 1990, pp. 58–59.
Yves Bonnefoy. Alberto Giacometti: A Biography of His Work. Paris, 1991, pp. 349, 352–53, 364, 400, 472, 539, 546 n. 17, p. 560.
Casimiro Di Crescenzo, ed. Alberto Giacometti: Sculture, dipinti, disegni. Exh. cat., Palazzo Reale, Milan. Florence, 1995, pp. 22, 170.
Reinhold Hohl, ed. Giacometti: Eine Bildbiographie. Bonn, 1998, ill. p. 140 (plaster model).
John Russell. Matisse: Father & Son. New York, 1999, pp. 167–68.
Victoria Newhouse. Art and the Power of Placement. New York, 2005, fig. 164.
Carolyn Lanchner inAbstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger, and Nan Rosenthal. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 93–97, no. 31, ill. (color).