The Comité Giacometti confirms the authenticity of this sculpture. It will be included in the catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Fondation Alberto and Annette Giacometti.
Of all the themes and motifs that preoccupied Giacometti throughout his career, none captivated him so intensely as the head of his younger brother Diego. His inaugural experiment in sculpture at the age of thirteen was a representation of Diego, and he continued to sculpt his brother until the months before his death, more than fifty years later. As James Lord, Giacometti's biographer, has written,
"There are certain images that recur regularly throughout Giacometti's work. Of these, the most salient has certainly been the head of Diego, which has come to seem almost an archetypal visage of man. I mentioned this to Alberto, and he replied, 'That's normal. Diego's head is the one I know best. He's posed for me over a longer period of time and more often than anyone else... So when I sculpt or paint a head from memory it always turns out to be more or less Diego's head, because Diego's is the head I've done most often from life...'" (J. Lord, A Giacometti Portrait, New York, 1965, p. 39).
The start of Giacometti's artistic partnership with Diego dates to 1925, when the latter moved to Paris and installed himself in his brother's studio in Montparnasse. Diego soon began working with Giacometti, constructing armatures for his sculptures and helping him to make lampstands and other decorative items for the interior designer Jean-Michel Frank. By the mid-1940s, Diego had grown into Giacometti's indispensable collaborator, coordinating the casting and patination of his bronzes and providing counsel about prices and sales. He had also become Giacometti's principal model. Much later, Diego would recall how his brother seemed to draw him with his eyes even at the moment of his death:
"I saw Alberto dying. I sat by his bed, I held his hand, Alberto looked at me, or rather, he scrutinized the contours of my face, drew me with his eyes just as he drew eyes and transposed everything that he saw into drawing. He did not see a brother at his death-bed but seemed to be trying to work out how the head of the model in front of him had been made..." (quoted in R. Hohl, Giacometti: A Biography in Pictures, Bonn, 1998, p. 196).