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Valori Plastici collection, Rome.
Alfredo Casella, Florence, and thence by descent to the present owner.
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE ALFREDO CASELLA
Giorgio de Chirico, Piazza d'Italia (Mercurio e i metafisici), 1920
Alfredo Casella was one of the leading Italian composers of the 20th Century. Born in Turin in 1883 into a family of musicians, Casella was one of most prominent and internationally recognized figures of the so-called generazione dell'ottanta - a post Puccini generation of Italian composers born in the 1880s - who in the wake of the great opera composer's death, pioneered a radical new direction in predominantly instrumental music. Rising to prominence in the 1920s Casella was also a proud champion of modern Italian art and culture. Especially passionate about painting, he acquired one of the great private collections of early 20th Century Italian art. Giorgio de Chirico painted two portraits of him in 1924 and throughout the 1920s and early '30s Casella acquired several major works by Italian artists then pioneering a new classicism. These included a number of masterpieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrà and Mario Sironi.
Having studied at the Conservatoire de Paris under the pianist Louis Dimer and the composer Gabriel Faur from 1896, Casella had come to know Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky at an early age as well as coming into contact with Ferruccio Busoni, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss.
In the 1920s, along with Gabriele D'Annunzio and Gain Franceso Malipiero Casella founded the 'Corporation of the New Music' in order to promote a modern and distinctly Italian music. By the end of the decade Casella had established a reputation for himself as one of the best-known piano virtuosos of his generation. In 1930 together with Arturo Bonucci on the cello and Alberto Poltronieri on the violin he formed the Trio Italiano. This popular group became widely known throughout Europe and America and were responsible for the creation of several of Casella's best-known compositions, among them, A Notte Alta, the Sonatina, Nove Pezzi, and the Six Studies, Op. 70, for piano.
A proud defender of the neo-classical tradition in both music and art, Casella was also a fierce champion of the work of Antonio Vivaldi. Indeed the reinstatement of Vivaldi's work into the canon of the greats that took place in the 20th Century was largely thanks to Casella's efforts. Along with the poet Ezra Pound it was Casella who helped to organize the now historic Vivaldi Week that took place in 1939. It was Casella's work on behalf of such Baroque musical antecedents that set him at the heart of the early 20th Century neoclassical revival in music and which also influenced his own work. Alfredo Casella died in Rome in 1947.
P. Courthion & A. Bardi, Sélection: chronique de la vie artistique. Giorgio de Chirico, Antwerp, 1929, no. 8, p. 55 (illustrated).
Civiltà. Rivista trimestrale della Esposizione universale di Roma, no. 3, Milan, 1940, (illustrated on the cover).
I. Far, Giorgio de Chirico, Milan, 1968, pl. 45.
C. Bruni, Catalogo generale Giorgio de Chirico, opere dal 1908 al 1930, vol. I, Milan, 1971, no. 46 (illustrated; dated 1921).
G. Legrand, Giorgio de Chirico, Paris, 1975, p. 32.
I classici della pittura, Rome, 1978, no. 18, pl. 10.
I. Far de Chirico & D. Porzio, Conoscere de Chirico: la vita e l'opera dell'inventore della pittura metafisica, Milan, 1979, no. 91, p. 290 (illustrated p. 177).
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, Giorgio de Chirico. "Le rêve de Tobie" 1917: un interno ferrarese e le origini del surrealismo, Rome, 1980, no. 41, p. 46.
W. Schmied, A. Jouffroy, M. Fagiolo dell'Arco & D. Porzio, De Chirico. Leben und Werk, Munich, 1980, no. 91, p. 290 (illustrated p. 177).
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, Giorgio de Chirico, il tempo di "Valori Plastici" 1918-1922, Rome, 1980, no. 91, p. 60 (illustrated p. 61).
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, "Speciale de Chirico", in Catalogo Nazionale Bolaffi d'Arte Moderna, no. 15, Milan, 1980, no. 2, pp. 83-84.
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, L'opera completa di de Chirico 1908-1924, Milan, 1984, no. 160, pp. 107-108.
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, I bagni misteriosi. De Chirico negli anni Trenta: Parigi, Italia, New York, Milan, 1991, no. 4 (illustrated p. 179).
Exh. cat., Die Andere Moderne: De Chirico, Savinio, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 2001-2002, p. 94 (illustrated).
W. Schmied, Giorgio de Chirico: the endless journey, Munich, 2002, p. 96 (illustrated).
M. Valsecchi, Immagini di arte italiana: Giorgio de Chirico, Milan, n.d., pl. 5.
Milan, Galleria Arte, Mostra personale del pittore Giorgio de Chirico, 1921, no. 21.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Twentieth-Century Italian Art, 1949, p. 129.
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, Arte Moderna in Italia 1915-1935, 1967, no. 941, p. XXXIV.
Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Le muse inquietanti: maestri del Surrealismo, 1967 - 1968, no. 148.
Bochum, Städtische Kunstgalerie, Italienische Kunst des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, 1968; this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, 1968.
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Cento opere dal futurismo ad oggi, 1968 - 1969, no. 17, p. 52 (illustrated p. 53).
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Giorgio de Chirico, 1970, no. 44, p. 29 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft in der Orangerie Herrenhausen, 1970, no.46, p. 65 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie André-François Petit, Hommage à Giorgio de Chirico, Paris, 1975, pl. 8 (illustrated).
Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Les réalismes 1919-1939, 1980 - 1981, p. 67 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 1981.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, De Chirico, 1982, pl. 80; this exhibition later travelled to London, Tate Gallery, 1982.
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Giorgio de Chirico der Metaphysiker, 1982 - 1983, no. 60, p. 192 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1983.
Verona, Palazzo Forti and Galleria dello Scudo, De Chirico: gli anni Venti, 1986 - 1987, p. 60 (illustrated p. 61); this exhibition later travelled to Milan, Palazzo Reale, 1987.
Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus, Tilbakevending til orden og gjennopptagelsen av malerkunsten: den figurative kontinuitet i italiensk malerkunst 1920-1987, 1988, no. 6; this exhibition later travelled to Helsinki, Ateneumin Taidemuseo, 1988.
Venice, Museo Correr, De Chirico nel centenario della nascita, 1988 - 1989, no. 33, p. 204, (illustrated pl. 36).
London, Tate Gallery, On Classic Ground. Picasso, Léger, De Chirico and the New Classicism 1910-1930, 1990, no. 33, p. 76 (illustrated p. 77).
Milan, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, L'idea del classico 1916-1932, 1992, p. 209.
Tokyo, Garden Museum of Fine Art, De Chirico, 1920-1950, 1993, no. 10, p. 122 (illustrated p. 46); this exhibition later travelled to Osaka, Nabio Bijutsukan, 1993, and Hiroshima, Fukuyama Museum of Art, 1993.
New York, Paolo Baldacci Gallery, Giorgio de Chirico. Betraying the Muse: De Chirico and the Surrealists, 1994, no. 8, p. 144 (illustrated p. 145).
Basel, Kunstmuseum, Canto d'Amore. Klassizistische Moderne in Musik und bildender Kunst 1914-1935, 1996, no. 15.
Padova, Palazzo Zabarella, De Chirico, 2007, no. 46, p. 164 (illustrated).
Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Giorgio de Chirico: Werke 1909-1971 aus Schweizer Sammlungen, 2008, no. 23 (illustrated p. 79).