It would be hard to find two twentieth-century artists more dissimilar than the English sculptor Henry Moore (1898–1986) and the Swiss-born sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966). The former is best known for his broad-beamed, monumental reclining females, the latter for his attenuated, scabrous standing figures. One seeks to evoke primal forces of nature and female fecundity through vigorously tactile forms. The other seems to look to sculpture to serve anti-sculptural ends, creating hazy “presences” that resist every effort to apprehend them as solid form. Hilton Kramer tells a story that vividly captures the men’s opposing outlooks. Visiting Moore in the 1960s, he mentioned to the artist that he had just come from seeing Giacometti in Paris. “Tell me,” Moore replied, “Have his sculptures gotten any larger?”

The differences between the two artists have only been emphasized in...


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