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Biography

Diego Giacometti

Biography of Diego Giacometti

Diego Giacometti was born on 15th November 1902 in Borgonovo in Val Bregaglia to Giovanni Giacometti and Annetta Stampa, thirteen months after the birth of his brother Alberto. In 1905, two years after his sister Ottilia was born, the family moved to Stampa. Alberto's artistic genius soon monopolised the family's attention. Diego, who was closest to Alberto, grew up in complete harmony with his brother's extrovert personality but at the same time explored independent fields of art. At an early age he showed a passion for animals, from the pets and farmyard animals around the village to the wild animals he observed during trips into the country. He took part in the family tradition of sitting for portraits and the Testa di Diego, featuring the head of twelve-year old Diego, was Alberto's first sculpture. After attending the college of Schiers, in 1919 he half-heartedly began commercial studies, which he soon abandoned to undertake trips to a number of European cities. In 1927 he travelled to Algeria and Egypt. In 1925 Diego joined Alberto in Paris, where he was to remain, apart from rare intervals, until the end of his life. In 1927 the two brothers moved to an atelier in Rue Hippolyte Maindron. Their first earnings came as a result of a meeting with interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, who commissioned them to make bronze and plaster objects for élite furniture. In this period it is difficult to tell the brothers' work apart, Alberto's imagination blending perfectly with Diego's sobriety and balance. In the summer of 1935, during a period at the family's summer house in Maloja, they were joined by the artist Max Ernst who experimented with sculpture of granite blocks. Diego in turn tried out this technique, roughing out a snake and lion's head. In 1938 Diego received personal commissions and designed wall and ceiling lights for Guerlain's new office on the Champs-Elysées.
In the meantime Alberto had left Breton's circle and began studying real-life portraiture. Diego became his model and assistant. He prepared the supporting framework and made the plaster moulds for castings. During the Second World War the two brothers were divided and Diego remained alone in Paris. At the age of forty he enrolled on a sculpture course at the Ranson Academy. After the war, Alberto and Diego resumed their work together, but each with their own personal mark. Their furniture-making activity began with an order for flower holders and table bases. In 1948 Matisse ordered the lamps for his new gallery in New York and other items of furniture for his villa in Cap Ferrat. From accessories, Diego progressed to creating entire items of furniture such as chairs, tables, consoles and stools. Diego was at Alberto's bedside when he died in 1965. After his brother's death, Diego began to increasingly explore his expressive talents. His furniture items became fully-fledged sculptures. Remembering his childhood passion, he returned to modelling animals. In 1975 he produced two models of elephants for Pierre Berés. Now eighty, he accepted his last major commission, furniture for the Picasso Museum in Paris. He died on 15th June 1985.

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Italica is a Rai International production. The material displayed on this site is protected by copyright and is available for informative purposes only

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Biography

Diego Giacometti

Biography of Diego Giacometti

Diego Giacometti was born on 15th November 1902 in Borgonovo in Val Bregaglia to Giovanni Giacometti and Annetta Stampa, thirteen months after the birth of his brother Alberto. In 1905, two years after his sister Ottilia was born, the family moved to Stampa. Alberto's artistic genius soon monopolised the family's attention. Diego, who was closest to Alberto, grew up in complete harmony with his brother's extrovert personality but at the same time explored independent fields of art. At an early age he showed a passion for animals, from the pets and farmyard animals around the village to the wild animals he observed during trips into the country. He took part in the family tradition of sitting for portraits and the Testa di Diego, featuring the head of twelve-year old Diego, was Alberto's first sculpture. After attending the college of Schiers, in 1919 he half-heartedly began commercial studies, which he soon abandoned to undertake trips to a number of European cities. In 1927 he travelled to Algeria and Egypt. In 1925 Diego joined Alberto in Paris, where he was to remain, apart from rare intervals, until the end of his life. In 1927 the two brothers moved to an atelier in Rue Hippolyte Maindron. Their first earnings came as a result of a meeting with interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, who commissioned them to make bronze and plaster objects for élite furniture. In this period it is difficult to tell the brothers' work apart, Alberto's imagination blending perfectly with Diego's sobriety and balance. In the summer of 1935, during a period at the family's summer house in Maloja, they were joined by the artist Max Ernst who experimented with sculpture of granite blocks. Diego in turn tried out this technique, roughing out a snake and lion's head. In 1938 Diego received personal commissions and designed wall and ceiling lights for Guerlain's new office on the Champs-Elysées.
In the meantime Alberto had left Breton's circle and began studying real-life portraiture. Diego became his model and assistant. He prepared the supporting framework and made the plaster moulds for castings. During the Second World War the two brothers were divided and Diego remained alone in Paris. At the age of forty he enrolled on a sculpture course at the Ranson Academy. After the war, Alberto and Diego resumed their work together, but each with their own personal mark. Their furniture-making activity began with an order for flower holders and table bases. In 1948 Matisse ordered the lamps for his new gallery in New York and other items of furniture for his villa in Cap Ferrat. From accessories, Diego progressed to creating entire items of furniture such as chairs, tables, consoles and stools. Diego was at Alberto's bedside when he died in 1965. After his brother's death, Diego began to increasingly explore his expressive talents. His furniture items became fully-fledged sculptures. Remembering his childhood passion, he returned to modelling animals. In 1975 he produced two models of elephants for Pierre Berés. Now eighty, he accepted his last major commission, furniture for the Picasso Museum in Paris. He died on 15th June 1985.

dx2.jpg (12292 byte)dx2.jpg (12292 byte)dx2.jpg (12292 byte)dx2.jpg (12292 byte)dx2.jpg (12292 byte)
logorai.gif (2283 byte)
trasp.gif (837 byte)

Italica is a Rai International production. The material displayed on this site is protected by copyright and is available for informative purposes only