The Palace at 4 a.m.
1932. Wood, glass, wire, and string, 25 x 28 1/4 x 15 3/4" (63.5 x 71.8 x 40 cm)
The Palace at 4 a.m. is a spindly wood scaffolding, sheet of glass, and delicate skeletal structure. In 1933, Alberto Giacometti wrote that the scenes in this and other sculptures came to him “entirely completed” in visions, and that he tried to reproduce them “in space without changing anything.”
According to Giacometti, The Palace at 4 a.m. was inspired by an all-engrossing six-month love affair with a woman identified only as Denise. “We constructed a fantastical palace in the night,” he wrote, “…a very fragile palace of matches; at the least false movement a whole section of the diminutive construction would collapse; we would always began it all over again.”1