Alberto Giacometti Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object) 1934 (cast c. 1954-55)

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 517 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

This highly stylized figure balances on a cagelike throne which, together with the pillory–like board covering her shins, simultaneously supports and restrains her from movement. Her hands, positioned as if holding or offering something, hold nothing, as suggested by the work’s title. Giacometti modeled the figure’s head and face after a protective metal mask. This is Giacometti’s first large–scale, anatomically complete human figure, and his last major work made within the orbit of Surrealism.

Gallery label from 2006.
Additional text

Giacometti's large-scale, highly stylized female figure balances on a cage-like throne, which, together with the slab-like board covering her shins, both supports and restricts her movement. Giacometti modeled the figure's head and face after a protective metal mask found at a Paris flea market he visited. The figure's hands, positioned as if holding or offering something, are empty, as confirmed by the work's title.

59 7/8 x 12 7/8 x 10" (152.1 x 32.6 x 25.3 cm)
Louise Reinhardt Smith Bequest
Object number
© 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture

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