Giorgio de Chirico

Everything has two aspects: the current aspect, which we see nearly always and which ordinary men see, and the ghostly and metaphysical aspect, which only rare individuals may see in moments of clairvoyance and metaphysical abstraction…

Giorgio de Chirico was born to Italian parents in Vólos, Greece in 1888 and in 1900 began to study at the Athens Polytechnic Institute, attending evening classes in life drawing. Following his father’s death, after a short stay in Italy, in 1906 he moved to Munich with his mother and brother, where he attended the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. It was at this time, that he became interested in the art of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger and the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer.
De Chirico moved to Milan in 1909, to Florence in 1910, and to Paris in 1911. In Paris, he was included in the Salon d’Automne in 1912 and 1913 and the Salon des Indépendants in 1913 and 1914. It was during this time that de Chirico painted his most famous cityscapes. These works offer an unconventional perspective on locations that would have normally been full of movement and activity, with his works alternatively depicting haunted streets, that appear dreamlike in their composition. De Chirico’s works are often described by critics as “dream writings”, as they present a disordered collection of symbols, artificiality, and eerie atmospheres.
When Italy entered the Great War in May 1915, de Chirico and his brother Alberto Savinio returned to Florence where they were sent to Ferrara as part of the infantry reserves. Here he met Filippo de Pisis in 1916, and Carlo Carrà in 1917, giving rise to the short-lived alliance that would arbitrarily be dubbed the ‘Metaphysical School’.

In 1918, de Chirico moved to Rome and was given his first solo exhibition at the Casa d’Arte Bragaglia, in February 1919. During this time, he was one of the leaders of the Gruppo Valori Plastici, with whom he showed at the National Galerie in Berlin. From 1920 to 1924 he divided his time between Rome and Florence. In 1921, a solo exhibition of de Chirico’s work was held at the Galleria Arte in Milan, and in 1924, he participated in the Venice Biennale for the first time.
In 1925, he returned to Paris, where he exhibited that year at Léonce Rosenberg’s Galerie l’Effort Moderne, with his work then being shown at the Galerie Paul Guillaume in 1926 and 1927 and at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher in 1927. In 1928, de Chirico was given solo shows at the Arthur Tooth Gallery in London and the Valentine Gallery in New York.
During this period, de Chirico was also exploring alternative paths, designing the scenery and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s production of the ballet Le Bal in 1929 and publishing his book Hebdomeros that same year. He continued to design for ballet and opera in subsequent years, whilst also exhibiting in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan.
De Chirico died on November 20, 1978, in Rome, his home for over thirty years.





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