NEW YORK - Conjuring images of sinewy statues, undulating bronze busts and dramatic charcoal drawings, the name Giacometti evokes a distinct style, nurtured and cultivated by one of the leading artists of the 20th century. However, the style he developed that is so instantly recognizable today would never have fermented without the influence of another Giacometti: his brother, Diego.


Diego and Alberto Giacometti circa 1960, Paris.

NEW YORK - Conjuring images of sinewy statues, undulating bronze busts and dramatic charcoal drawings, the name Giacometti evokes a distinct style, nurtured and cultivated by one of the leading artists of the 20th century. However, the style he developed that is so instantly recognizable today would never have fermented without the influence of another Giacometti: his brother, Diego.

The younger brother of Alberto and a popular artist in his own right, Diego Giacometti has been overshadowed since birth by his self-confident older brother. Indeed, when the pair left for Paris in 1922, their mother gave Diego a simple mission: “You shall look after Alberto, my son.” For the next 40 years, Diego did just that.

The two rarely separated. Their adjacent studios gave the brothers unfettered access to each other’s work, cementing a relationship that went far beyond the normal sibling bond. They were brothers and partners, linked by blood and art. As noted by one writer, “What they shared was a feeling for form and scale, a deep respect for craft, a boundless passion for work and a profound sense – instilled in them not by modernism but by the awesome and capricious Bergell Valley in which they were raised – that change and continuity were inseparable” (Michael Brenson, New York Time, “Art: The Furniture of Diego Giacometti,” June 21, 1985). Throughout their careers in sculpture and furniture the frères Giacometti explored such themes with passion, pushing one another to develop his own craft.   


Giacometti Family circa 1910, from left to right: Alberto, Bruno, Giovanni, Annetta. In front, Diego and Ottillia.
       

Alberto’s feelings for Diego were clearly intense: his brother was his most constant model, and Alberto admitted that he asked Diego to sit for him thousands of times for the now iconic bronze busts. He felt his brother’s face was the perfect inspiration from which to draw the powerful emotions he sought to capture. Sotheby’s will offer one of these powerful bronzes in our Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale in New York on 6 November.

At the Impressionist & Modern Day sale on 7 November, Sotheby’s New York is privileged to offer a number of furniture pieces, designed by both brothers and executed by Diego from a Private Swiss Collection. The superb and very diverse group consists of two works by Alberto and ten by Diego, including lamps, tables, chairs, a console, long banquette and more, as well as a unique piece commissioned by Gustav Zumsteg. Zumsteg, a major silk merchant, who rubbed elbows with the French cultural elite – artists like Picasso and Matisse and the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent – commissioned Diego to create a work specifically for his private dining room of his company’s headquarters. The end result, Port-Verres, is a two-tiered structure centered by a long rod encircled by chimeras and bats and topped by a delicately polished orb of alabaster. Evoking a globe, the orb perches perilously atop a nest swarming with existential threats in the forms of the chimeras. And yet, the bronze forms do not quite reach the alabaster, as it remains safely apart from the chaos below.


Diego Giacometti’s Port-verres, 1968. Estimate $300,000-500,000.  

Another star of this interesting group is a table that depicts the story of St George and the dragon. The long tailed dragon staunchly faces the figure of St George, rearing back on his horse with lance drawn. A damsel in distress peers on from a high balcony and the lines of the table act as a stage set for the dramatic narrative scene.


Diego Giacometti’s Table (Saint George et le dragon), 1972. Estimate $200,000-300,000.

Alberto and Diego Giacometti inspired each other’s great creative output throughout their careers, spent in happy proximity.

I hope to welcome you to the galleries this fall so that you can enjoy experiencing the most livable of all Giacometti art: the furniture.

標籤Auctions, 紐約, 印象派及現代藝術, Artist