Alberto Giacometti

Femme égorgée [Woman with her Throat Cut] (1932)

About this artwork

This is the most macabre of Giacometti's surrealist sculptures. Although the figure appears to be dying, the shape of the body resembles a mantrap or the jaws of a fly-eating plant. The right leg folds under the abdomen to form an aggressive spiky rib cage. A tiny nick can be seen in the throat, as the figure gasps for breath. The sculpture may have been inspired by a short story about the serial killer Jack the Ripper, written by one of the artist's friends. Such a gruesome subject is often considered taboo in art, which is perhaps why the artist chose it.

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  • title: Femme égorgée [Woman with her Throat Cut]
  • accession number: GMA 1109
  • artist: Alberto GiacomettiSwiss (1901 - 1966)
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Sculpture
  • subject: Beauty Death Surrealism Emotions
  • medium: Bronze
  • date created: 1932
  • measurements: 22.00 x 87.50 x 53.50 cm
  • credit line: Purchased 1970
  • copyright: © Succession Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London), 2016.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

Swiss-born sculptor Giacometti studied art in Geneva, moving to Paris in 1922 where he experimented with Cubism and became interested in primitive sculpture. He worked with the surrealist group until the mid-1930s, producing strange objects suggestive of cruelty, sex and dreams. After that time, he broke away dramatically from the Surrealists and returned to working from life. He then produced his best known works, a series of elongated and fragile skeletal figures, made not by carving but by an obsessive process of modelling in clay and whittling away.