A Giacometti Portrait

James Lord

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

128 Pages



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When we look at a painting hanging on an art gallery wall, we see only what the artist has chosen to disclose—the finished work of art. What remains mysterious is the process of creation itself: the making of the work of art. Everyone who has looked at paintings has wondered about this, and numerous efforts have been made to discover and depict the creative method of important artists. A Giacometti Portrait is a picture of one of the century's greatest artists at work.

James Lord sat for eighteen days while his Swiss friend Alberto Giamcometti (1901-1966) did his portrait in oil. The artist painted, and the model recorded the sittings and took photographs of the work in its various stages. What emerged was an illumination of what it is to be an artist and what it was to be Giacometti—a portrait in prose of the man and his art. A work of great literary distinction—and a classic that first appeared in the mid-1960s—A Giacometti Portrait is, above all, a subtle and important evocation of a great modern painter and sculptor.


Praise for A Giacometti Portrait

"James Lord's timeless account . . . documents how torturous creation can be, even, or perhaps especially, for a creative genius."—Jacqueline White, Ruminator Review

Reviews from Goodreads



  • James Lord

  • James Lord was an acclaimed American author who lived in France for many years. His books include Plausible Portraits of James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and four volumes of memoirs. In recognition of his contribution to French culture, he was made an officer of the Legion of Honor.