Giacometti was born in 1902 in Stampa, a Swiss hamlet in the Bergell Valley. There was no running water or electricity, and the fastest mode of transportation was the stagecoach. ‘It was not even the Middle Ages,’ Giacometti said. ‘It was prehistory.’ He spent his childhood amongst the farm animals and fresh air, but his was also an artistically inclined household: Giovanni, his father, was an Impressionist painter; Giacometti was named for Velázquez; and his brother Alberto would go on to become a celebrated sculptor and artist.
Although Giacometti studied business in Basel and St Gallen, he felt unmoored following graduation. On the advice of his mother, he moved in 1925 to Paris, where his brother was living and making a name for himself within the avant-garde art world. The brothers became inseparable, even sharing a studio in the 14th arrondissement. There, Giacometti assisted his brother by chiselling stone, polishing bronze and serving as a model.
In the mid-1930s, the Giacomettis were commissioned by the leading interior designer Jean-Michel Frank to create several decorative pieces for his shop on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. But it was not until World War II, when Alberto returned to Switzerland, that Giacometti began to develop his own practice. Many days were spent at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, and flora and fauna began to take shape in his sculptures and furniture.
In his melding of form and function, Giacometti drew on a range of influences, both contemporary and antique, personal and observed. Over time, his client base swelled to include the most fashionable, with Giacometti designing pieces for Aimé and Marguerite Maeght and the legendary designer Hubert de Givenchy, among countless others.
In 1984, Giacometti was commissioned by the French State to design a suite of furniture for the opening of the Musée Picasso, Paris. Explaining his selection of Giacometti, the museum’s director Dominque Bozo said, ‘I did not want a clinical, antiseptic, modern museum. I wanted something warm, elegant, above all pas design. I also had to find a link between the decor of the 17th and 18th centuries and Picasso. For a commission like that, I needed someone who is really an artist, who was capable of taking charge of the project and making the link.’ This was to be Giacometti’s valedictory and most important project: the sculptor passed away on 15 July 1985.
PAIRE DE TABLES BASSES À LA LEVRETTE BUCKY , COUPELLE, TECKEL LIPPO ET NICHE, VERS 1978
TABLE D'APPOINT BOUTONS , LE MODÈLE CRÉÉ VERS 1960, CELLE-CI RÉALISÉE VERS 1970-1980
TABLE D'APPOINT BOUTONS , LE MODÈLE CRÉÉ VERS 1960, CET EXEMPLAIRE RÉALISÉ VERS 1970-1980