Giovanni Giacometti (1868–1933)
Giovanni Giacometti, Sera sull'Alpe (Evening on the Alp), 1906, oil on canvas. Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano. Extended loan Swiss Confederation, Federal Office of Culture, Bern
Giovanni Giacometti, the father of Alberto and Diego, was born in Stampa, in the Val Bregaglia. In Munich, after the rejection by the Academy of Fine Arts, he enrolled at the city’s Kunstgewerbeschule and took lessons at private art schools. He met Cuno Amiet, who became a lifelong friend, and continued his training with him in Paris at the Académie Julian and the Beaux-Arts from the autumn of 1888. However, financial difficulties forced him to interrupt his studies and return to the Val Bregaglia, where he would live his whole life. In 1894, he met Giovanni Segantini, who influenced his art for almost a decade, in terms of both subject and style, and with whom he worked on several projects, including the monumental Trittico della Natura (Triptych of Nature). Giacometti managed to free himself of his mentor’s influence largely by his careful study of Amiet’s painting, whose Neo-impressionist-style brushstrokes and more abstract approach to the application of colour enabled him to achieve the effect of heightened light and colour that he had long sought.
Evening on the Alp belongs to this phase of his career. While the subject is still in the style of Segantini, the choice of a daring palette and the depiction of the Alpine scene using the Divisionist technique, with distinct little vertical, horizontal and oblique brushstrokes, testify to the experimentation on which the artist embarked in the middle of the first decade of the 20th century. The work, purchased by the Swiss Confederation in 1912, was deposited to the Museum the same year.