The Forest (Composition with Seven Figures and a Head)

Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, Borgonovo 1901–1966 Chur)

Painted bronze
23 x 23 5/8 x 19 in. (58.4 x 60 x 48.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, 2006
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed and numbered, proper left edge: A Giacometti 1/6

  • Provenance

    Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, acquired from the artist, December 1950 - March 1951; Mr. and Mrs. Jay Z. Steinberg, Chicago, purchased from Matisse, March 21, 1951 - gift from Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.

  • Exhibition History

    Alberto Giacometti, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, November 1950, exh. cat., pp. 3, 5-6, 9, 20, 21 (ill.), and cover.

    Sculpture and Paintings by Giacometti, The Arts Club of Chicago, November 4-December 1, 1953, exh. cat. no. 13 (mistitled: The Glade).

    Alberto Giacometti, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, June 9-October 10, 1965, Art Institute of Chicago, November 5-December 12, 1965, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, January 11-February 20, 1966, San Francisco Museum of Art, March 10-April 24, 1966, exh. cat. by Peter Selz, pp. 54-55 (ill.), 116 (no. 36).

    An American Choice: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 21-September 27, 1981, exh. cat. by William S. Lieberman, pp. 8, 34-35 (ill.),154.

    Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 18, 2007 - February 3, 2008, exh. cat. edited by Gary Tinterow, Lisa Mintz Messinger, and Nan Rosenthal, no. 31, pp. 93-97 (ill.; essay by Carolyn Lanchner).

  • References

    Ernst Scheidegger, ed., Alberto Giacometti, Schriften, Fotos, Zeichnungen / Essais, photos, dessins (Zurich: Verlag der Arche, 1958), ill. frontispiece & p. 82.

    Raoul-Jean Moulin, Giacometti: Sculptures (Paris: Fernand Hazan, 1964); translated by Bettina Wadia (New York: Tudor Publishing, 1964), n.p.

    Franz Meyer, Alberto Giacometti: Eine Kunst existentieller Wirklichkeit (Stuttgart: Huber, 1968), pp. 177, 178.

    Siegfried Salzmann, Alberto Giacometti: Plastiken, Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, September 17-November 27, 1977, pp. 91-101 (Karlheinz Nowald, "Notizen zu La Forêt, 1950").

    Monica Meenan, "The Vigorous Collectors," Town & Country, vol. 132, no. 4981 (September 1978), p. 148 (ill.).

    Judith Goldman, "Collecting in Chicago: Love Affairs with Art," Artnews, vol. 78, no. 2, February 1979, p. 49.

    Alice Hess, "Great Private Collections: A Chicago Visionary," Saturday Review, October 1980, pp. 3, 72-75.

    Grace Glueck, "Met is Given a $12 Million Art Collection," New York Times, December 10, 1980, p. 21.

    Henry Hanson, "Upfront: East Coast woos Chicago collectors," Chicago Magazine, January 1981, p. 14 (ill.).

    Hilton Kramer, "Modernist Show Moves Met Firmly into Art of 20th Century," The New York Times, May 22, 1981, p. C21.

    Mark Stevens, "A Blossoming at the Met," Newsweek, June 22, 1981, p. 90 (ill.).

    M. W. Newman, "Chicago," The Franklin Mint Almanac, vol. 12, no. 4, July-August 1981, p. 20 (ill.).

    Judith Goldman, "Collecting: Vicarious Pleasures of a Daring Painter-Turned-Collector," Vogue, August 1981, p. 50 (ill.).

    James Lord, Alberto Giacometti, A Biography (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1985), pp. 308, 329, 335, 357.

    William Agee, "Muriel Kallis Newman: Life Among the Moders," Architectural Digest, December 1986, pp. 66, 70 (ill.).

    Yves Bonnefoy, Alberto Giacometti: Biographie d'une oeuvre (Paris: Flammarion, 1991), pp. 352-355, 365, 472, 560.

    Michel Leiris and Jacques Dupin, eds., Alberto Giacometti: Écrits (Paris: Hermann, Collection Savoir Sur L'Art, 1992), p. 59 (ill.).

    Alberto Giacometti: Sculture, dipinti, disegni, Palazzo Reale, Milan, January 26-April 2, 1995, p. 170 (ill.).

    Reinhold Hohl, Giacometti: Eine Bildbiographie (Ostfildern-Ruit: Gerd Hatje, 1998), p. 140 (ill.).

    John Russell, Matisse: Father and Son (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999), pp. 167-168.

    Victoria Newhouse, Art and the Power of Placement (New York: The Monacelli Press, 2005), p. 170 (fig. 164).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History