Two Brothers, Four Hands: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon
By Jan Greenberg
& Sandra Jordan
illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Holiday House / Neal Porter Books
“In the Swiss Village of Stampa, surrounded by mountains so high that in winter their shadows fill the valley, live two brothers. Alberto and Diego Giacometti, born only a year apart, are as different as brothers can be.” Yet they shared an intense bond. This inspiring true story is brought to life in the hands of multiple-Sibert Honor authors Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, and the sumptuous illustrations of Hadley Hooper.
Five starred reviews!
Readers meet two Swiss sculptors, brothers born a year apart, whose intertwined artistic lives spanned most of the 20th century and two world wars. Multiaward-winning team Greenberg and Jordan are best known for their astonishing ability to decode and explore sophisticated artists and movements: abstraction (Action Jackson, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker, 2002), modern dance (Ballet for Martha, illustrated by Brian Floca, 2010), and art photography (Meet Cindy Sherman, 2017). Here they turn to the Giacometti brothers, born at the turn of the 20th century. The older, Alberto, was pronounced a "genius" by his family. Art academy- and studio-trained, driven to make sculpture like his hero, Rodin, he eventually found his way to Paris. The simple dual biography explains how the family dynamic required that his sometimes-unfocused younger brother, Diego, join him there. Spare text describes how Diego became a skilled, sensitive metal worker, beginning as Alberto's invaluable studio assistant and becoming Alberto's true, artistic amanuensis. Hooper's low-key, child-friendly details keep readers turning the pages. Ingenious scratchy, angular lines echo the wire models Diego fashioned to support Alberto's striking and evocative original clay figures (most were later cast in bronze). She overlays the lines on broad, patchworked areas of serigraphlike spreads, offering effective, emotional undertones to the action of the text and the tenor of the times. Backmatter includes a focus on Alberto's iconic, tensile, postwar masterpiece, Walking Man. An extraordinary achievement and a moving, affecting evocation of two lives lived together.
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