Diego (Diego Giacometti)
Materials Sandblasted glass, cast glass, bronze, wood
Collection Carol and Paul Miller, Delray Beach, FL
Diego Giacometti, whose father was a well-known Italian-Swiss painter, was born just after the turn of the 20th century. He was a designer and sculptor and the younger brother of Alberto with whom he shared a studio in Paris throughout their working lives. Bruno the youngest of the Giacometti brothers became an architect and died in March of this year at the age of 104. In addition to his own work Diego assisted Alberto and sat for him as a model almost every day. Being a very reserved person, he lived in the shadow of his more famous brother, and it wasn’t until the death of Alberto in 1966 that he began to gain a wider recognition.
Animals played a big part in his sculptures and they often appeared on the rungs of chairs or perched on the supports of his other furniture. However, what secured his widespread notoriety was his final commission, the ensemble decoration (chairs, tables benches, stair railings, and chandeliers) for the Picasso Museum in Paris which was inaugurated in September 1985, two months after his death.
The elements of his work that I have incorporated into this piece are from a variety of sources. The bronze stem and leaf arrangement are from the lectern of the Chapel of Saint Roseline in Les Arcs in the Var in southern France. The wooden drawer with his classic crosshatch engraved finish is from a detail of a bookcase done for a client in the Île Saint-Louis in Paris. Even the picture frame surrounding his portrait was from one of his designs, originally made in plaster in 1947 and later reissued just before his death in white resin. This experimenting with resin served for the chandeliers in the Picasso museum, which would have been too heavy for the ceiling, had they been cast in bronze as all the rest of the furnishings. Lastly, slightly hidden in the drawer one of his characteristic bronze birds.