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Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

He still retains his accent from Grisons . . . It's nice. His eyes open wide, he gives a friendly smile; he was talking about the dust covering all the old turpentine bottles that clutter up the table in his studio.

The room, Annette's and his, is decorated with pretty red tiles. Before, the floor was of mud. It rained in the bedroom. He bitterly regretted having to resign himself to tiles. The prettiest and also the most humble of tiles. He told me he will never live anywhere other than this studio and this room. If possible, he would like them to be even more modest.

One day, during lunch with Sartre, I repeated my phrase about the statues: 'It is the bronze that has gained something.' 'Nothing could make him happier than that,' said Sartre. 'His dream would be to

disappear completely behind his work. He would be even happier if the bronze had manifested itself like that of its own accord.'

From Alberto Giacometti's Studio, by Jean Genet. First published 1958 by Editions Barbezat, Decine. Trans 1991 Charles Penwarden

(Research by Kate Oldfield)

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September. Sponsored by the Independent and supported by the French Embassy in London.

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