Diego Giacometti

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Biography of Diego Giacometti ( 1901-1985 )

Young brother of Alberto Giacometti, Diego grew up in Stampa in the family farm where his father Giovanni Giacometti – Swiss post-impressionist and Fauvism painter – used to make their daily furniture.

By the way, the father introduced the young boy to art. From a solitary nature, Diego shared his childhood with animals in the village and the farm. This privileged relation with animals will always guide him during his artistic life.

Diego Giacometti was resistant to studies and preferred to pose for his eldest brother instead of going to school. After mediocre studies, he lived a travelling life from 1919. He especially travelled to Egypt where the symbolism of the cat left its mark on his future works.

In 1925, he settled in Paris and joined his brother Alberto who was studied sculpture with Antoine Bourdelle. The first years were especially difficult for Diego who only found sporadic jobs in factories or offices. In 1927, Alberto found a little sculptor’s studio. From then on, Diego will constantly be his co-worker. Beyond his exceptional savoir-faire and his indisputable manual dexterity he also brought some ideas. He assisted his brother by creating some bases and display stands for his sculptures. This is how he turned almost naturally to furniture’s making.

Diego’s work illustrates perfectly his talent for the precision of proportions. The architecture of his pieces combines sobriety and functionality while keeping his endless creativity through his imaginary bestiary.

Little by little, Diego was going to emancipate and spread his talent for sculpture to other works than his brother’s. He started to have private orders from friends, like Marguerite and Aimé Maeght during the 1960’s. After Alberto’s death in 1965, Diego fixed his work on animals.

This coffee table with owls and frogs reminds us the animals of Diego Giacometti’s native Bregaglia valley. The plate of glass is like a stretch of water shared by the four frogs at the fours edges of the table. The owls, evocative of the dreams, are placed on branchs between the table legs.

As Jean Leymarie sayed, this coffee table shows the capacity of Diego Giacometti to “ join the worry of utility to the charm and the freshness of magic”.

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