But perhaps the Giacometti brothers’ most important friendship was that with
, whom they met shortly after moving to Paris. Later, at the age of 80, Diego would be tasked with designing the furniture and lighting for the Museé Picasso
in Paris, for which he created a series of bronze benches, tables, chairs, torch lights, and resin chandeliers meant to link the classical building with the modern art on display. The resulting works, still fixtures at the museum, are proof of the artist’s timeless appeal.
“The pieces of Diego are fairly universal—made of bronze with a touch of whimsy and a lot of poetry,” says Florent Jeanniard, specialist and head of the design department at Sotheby’s France. “It is really furniture made by an artist. The proportions, the finishes make for perfect furniture.”
Beyond Diego’s work with his brother, other influences can be found in his output. There are the birds studied from trips to the Jardin des Plantes and animal figures inspired by travel to Egypt as a young man. But still, it was a careful lifetime study of aesthetics that culminated in his slow embrace of his own creativity in the last quarter of his life.
“He controlled the amount he produced and his work was not disseminated like current furniture is,” Jeanniard explains, part of what contributed to the high sums his work readed during the 1980s. Indeed, the artist didn’t begin focusing on his own practice until after his brother’s death—and even then, he moved slowly. “Patience was needed, it took several months before even receiving one of his small cups,” Jeanniard says, and clients would often wait for years for Diego Giacometti to even begin a commission. “His pieces are therefore quite rare.”