“Everything was covered in plaster—the walls, the floors, the ceiling and the first I saw him, he himself was a walking Egyptian mummy, entirely white, covered in white plaster,” the Philadelphia-born Barbara Chase-Riboud recalled of her 1962 visit to the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s Montparnasse studio. It was the first encounter between two expatriates from different generations, who had made Paris their home. The last time they met each other was in Milan a few years later, not long before Giacometti’s death. This exhibition explores the common ground between two sculptors who looked to the past in order to reimagine the art of their time.
In their sculptures, Chase-Riboud and Giacometti both returned again and again to the human form. Giacometti often started with clay, modeling his works by hand before casting them in plaster. Chase-Riboud, who also became an acclaimed poet and novelist, favored the ancient lost-wax casting method for her bronzes, combining them with knotted and braided fiber, wool, or silk.
Images (L to R): Barbara Chase-Ribould in her studio, 1969 / photo by Marc Riboud; Alberto Giacometti modeling in the studio, 1963 / photo by Wolfgang Kuehn