An untiring assistant and patient model, Diego Giacometti shared 40 years of life and work with his brother Alberto, in what was one of the most intense symbiotic relationships in the history of modern art. Diego’s creative career embraced sculpture and design, and his approach to the art of decoration was extremely personal. The furniture and objects he made possessed a spare, severe, elegance, which was embellished by subtle references to past civilizations, starting with that of the Etruscans, and offset by the bronze he favoured. His instinctive liking for animals led him to portray them often, also in furniture, where they were not simply ornamental elements. Indeed, they transformed the actual structure of the object, enlivened the internal volumes and made them even lighter and more airy, evoking the essential lines of a landscape. Diego shared these concepts with the famous interior decorator Jean-Michel Frank, with whom he worked on several occasions.
As well as receiving many private commissions, Diego was invited to create projects for public institutions, from his work for the Musée National Marc Chagall to the decoration for the new Musée Picasso in Paris at the age of eighty, which definitively, and posthumously, consecrated him as an artist. In this catalogue, published on the occasion of the first Italian exhibition on Diego Giacometti at the Fondazione Luigi Rovati, curator Casimiro Di Crescenzo traces a biographical profile of the artist, sheds light on several aspects of the Giacometti brothers’ life in Paris, clarifies certain facts, and unearths interesting new information, also in Diego’s correspondence with family members. The four texts introducing the sections of works describe the main thematic nuclei of Diego’s production (sculpture, furniture, objects, depictions of animals), as well as his aforementioned role as a model for others, his father, and especially Alberto. The catalogue is enriched with essays by Roger Montandon, Eberhard W. Kornfeld and Henri Cartier-Bresson.