DIEGO GIACOMETTI EXHIBITION AT MUSÉE NATIONAL PICASSO PARIS
17 MAY - 4 NOVEMBER 2018
After my visit in January at the Picasso National Museum in Paris, while I was seeking to chronicle more about Diego Giacometti’s work and life for a previous article, I was delighted to learn that the museum is getting ready these days the exhibition 'Diego Giacometti At Musée Picasso'. The exhibition is dedicated entirely to this remarkable artist and will take place from May 17 to November 4, 2018. This will be a unique opportunity to explore the origin of the important commission he received in 1982 to furnish the Hotel Salé, (today the Picasso National Museum in Paris).
Diego Giacometti was born on November 15, 1902 into a family of artists in Borgovono, Switzerland, one year after his brother, the sculptor Alberto Giacometti. The two brothers moved to Paris in 1925 where they started working closely on plaster casts and bronze sculptures in their studio on Rue Hippolyte-Maindron. Soon, they were introduced to the Parisian cultural elite and befriended some of the most proeminent creative personalities of the time, such as Cecil Beaton, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, interior designer Jean-Michel Frank and fashion designer and patron of arts Hubert de Givenchy . Gradually, Diego made a name of his own as a furniture designer, thus after his brother's death in 1966, he started focusing entirely on his own work. During this time he created bespoke objects, sculptures and furniture for friends, interior designers, art collectors and gallery owners. Among his most significant works we count the collection of unique pieces that he created for his long-time friend, Hubert de Givenchy. The impressive collection ‘The Giacometti of Hubert de Givenchy’ was sold in 2017 at Christie’s for EUR 32,748,500.
Another emblematic commission which is considered the pinnacle of Diego Giacometti's artistic manifestation was the refurbishment of the Hôtel Salé that the artist received between 1982 and 1983 and finalised just one year before his death, in July 1985. This superb display at the Hôtel Salé projected Diego Giacometti, who all his life had remained discretely in his brother's shadow, to the attention of the artistic world and public, bringing him instant interest and appreciation. Sadly, he passed away in Paris shortly before the opening of the Picasso Museum.
This remarkable collection of 50 pieces comprises benches, tables, chairs, torch lights, and chandeliers, executed with much delicacy in bronze and resin. It was designed exclusively for the museum with the aim to connect the classical interior architecture of the building with the modern art on show and has now become an integral part of the museum’s interior décor.
Described by French art historian Jean Leymarie as “artisan-poet”, Diego Giacometti unveils through these outstanding creations different aspects of his ‘lyric’ universe: his taste for nature and plants noticed in the delicate botanical and zoologic shapes that embellish his furnishings, a keen interest in the ancient Greek and Etruscan art that inspired the shape of his furniture or the aim to create a veritable “geometry in the air”.
Furthermore, the exhibition turns the spotlight on Giacometti's studio collection, presented along with a selection of previously unrevealed photographs and archives which come to complement this commission and place it in its own context of creation.
Curators of the exhibition: François Dareau, researcher and Virginie Perdrisot, curator at the Musée National Picasso-Paris