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

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
© 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].