The mountains of Switzerland are great, but the Giacometti family enriches the cultural landscape. With the recollection of the sculptor Alberto opening at Tate Modern next week, our writers will visit the area that inspired him.
Touching the Landwasser Bridge through the village of Filisur on Glacier Express, it’s hard not to laugh at the point of view. Switzerland is lovely. Vistas almost looked fake – the lakes in transit, the village too box of chocolate. Even the goats also seem like they should have agents.
This beautiful country is always about the outdoors, but if you visit Graubünden this summer (and over a million people will walk, bike, swim in the lake or dance at festivals), make sure Make sure you not only stare at the mountains – Graubünden also has an incredible artistic legacy.
The most famous family in the area is Giacomettis. In England, we immediately think of Alberto’s sculptor and sculptor (his reminiscences at Tate Modern are opening next week – so huge sculptures will be hard to avoid). But in Europe, Alberto is just one family. Giovanni Giovanni is an impressive painter. Cousin Augusto is known for his stained-glass windows and the brothers of Alberto Bruno and Diego are architects and sculptors respectively.
To see the inspirational landscape of this talented clan, take a boat ride to St Moritz and go to the Maloja village. Here you can see Alberto’s childhood home and colorful panoramic photos appearing in his work before he started hanging out with surrealists in Paris in 1920. If you’re lucky, Dr. Marco Giacometti – who runs the Centro Centro Giacometti – will run your art walk for you. Marco’s personal photos, family insights and infectious enthusiasm will make Maloja come alive for you. If you are really lucky, there will be time to try the local marroni (chestnut). Val Bregaglia is Europe’s largest sweetwood forest and Hotel Longhin in Maloja has its own trees. I have never met a bowl of pasta that I do not like, but the chestnut here is special.
The road in Stampa, where the Giacomettis family moved in the following years, was restored to the family’s studio. Wooden wooden paintings, with flowers on the table, cigarette fire on the floor and doodles on the wall, were used by Giovanni and then Alberto. In the winter months, the sun does not permeate the valley, and that’s when Alberto arrived. He likes the bleak beauty of the beautiful Switzerland, obviously.
You can also respect the tomb of Giacomettis at the local church of San Giorgio, but if you want to see the famous Eli Loton who once sat on top of the Alberto rock, visit the Museo Ciäsa Granda – a sculpture. Was moved there to avoid finger merciless people. This museum is well worth a look – built in the 1980’s, it’s doubled as a nuclear vault and the gallery below has a distinct, isolated feel.
Visiting Stampa and Maloja shows a great family Giacometti, but go to the neighboring cities to do more work. Chur is the largest city in the region and is the oldest city in Switzerland. Go there to loll on the shores of Lake Cauma or Lake Cresta, to follow the Dreibündenstein walking trail or visit the village of Maienfeld where Johanna Spyri’s Heidi is located. But while you are in the town, go to the Museum Kunst Kunst. A specific expansion plan by architect Barozzi Veiga was added last year to the 1875 mansion that housed the city’s collection. This is a landmark in this traditional city and full of works by local connected artists, including Angelica Kauffmann and Ernst Kirchner as well as Giacomettis. There is even a scary body of HR Giger (of famous Alien) in the garden.
If you want more artwork Giacometti, Zürich easily take the train from Chur. Although the Kunsthaus Zürich is slightly crushed for space while its David Chipperfield extension is under construction (due to open in 2020), it is still home to the Alberto Giacometti Foundation collection. Includes more than 300 items and extends the entire occupation. Oh, and while you’re there, look at Félix Vallotton’s oil painting. The Royal Institute of London is organizing a major program for the following year relatively unknown.
This area is too beautiful to spend much time indoors, but tearing your gaze from the mountains is rewarding. See how this unbelievable landscape influenced and inspired the artists who lived there and Graubünden will seem like a lot more than just a pretty place.
By: Anna Lee