The creation of decorative art objects shows Giacometti’s interest in utilitarian objects which he admired in ancient and primitive societies. In 1931, Giacometti created a new typology of sculptures, which he called “mobile and mute objects” – things moving in a latent, suggestive way, which he had made of wood by a carpenter.
Like the Disagreeable Object and the Disagreeable Object To Be Thrown Away To Be Thrown Away, the Suspended Ball established a bridge between object and sculpture, and challenged the actual status of the work of art. In some of these sculptures, Giacometti had recourse, for the first time, to the procedure of the “cage”, which enabled him to delimit a dreamlike space of representation. From 1930 on, Giacometti created many utilitarian objects: lamps, vases, and wall lights which were sold by the avant-garde interior decorator Jean-Michel Frank. He also designed plaster and terra cotta bas-reliefs for special commissions – those on view here were made for an American collector, and the Louis-Dreyfus mansion in Paris. In 1939, he was one of the artists approached for a major commission by a couple of Argentinian collectors for whom he designed fire places, chandeliers, and console tables. Just before being dispatched to Buenos Aires, the complete décor, coordinated by Jean-Michel Frank, was installed in a life-size model in Paris. After the war, Giacometti went on creating other objects, including, in 1950, a lamp inspired by Dogon statuary and Egyptian funerary objects, and, in 1959, a scarf for a commission from his gallerist Aimé Maeght.