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    Sale 2255

    The Modern Age: The Collection of Alice Lawrence

    5 - 6 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 60

    Giorgio De Chirico (1888-1978)

    Intérieur forestier (Ovvero, équinoxe)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Giorgio De Chirico (1888-1978)
    Intérieur forestier (Ovvero, équinoxe)
    signed and dated 'g. de Chirico 1926' (upper right)
    oil and black crayon on canvas
    36 1/8 x 28 7/8 in. (92 x 73.4 cm.)
    Painted in 1926


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    The Fondazione de Chirico has confirmed the authenticity of this painting and have recorded it in their archives under the number 0031-09-08OT.

    During the 1920s de Chirico forged a classical style that drew heavily on the antique world of Mediterranean culture. De Chirico was born in Greece and lived there until he was eighteen--his understanding of this potent and timeless legacy was far more authentic and deeply ingrained than that of most other Paris painters, those who had adopted the trappings of classical culture in order to respond to the humanist rallying cry of the post-war "call to order."

    Although de Chirico now derived most of his symbolism from familiar sources in Greco-Roman mythology and history, his treatment of them in his recent work was no less idiosyncratic and filled with allusive meanings than it was in his metaphysical paintings before 1920 (see lot 9 Hillman). Indeed, de Chirico continued to create astonishing and unexpected metaphysical worlds that defied easy, rational interpretation. By juxtaposing the familiar and commonplace with strange and out-of-context situations, he continued to play with notions of abstraction, memory and contradictory realities. Francesco Poli has written, "The philosophical questions that emerged from these compositions dealt with the mystery and the enigma of man's identity and existence, his solitary state in the world, his limits in space and time, and his desire for the infinite everything appears uncertain and illusory, clearly defined yet lacking precise points of reference, plainly evident yet full of contradictory elements" (in "Giorgio de Chirico: From Avant-gardist to Maverick," Jole de Sanna, ed. De Chirico and the Mediterranean, New York, 1998, p. 68).

    The bizarre coincidence of elements in Intérieur Forestier sets this painting apart from most other works that de Chirico executed in Paris during 1924-1930, when he was primarily preoccupied with classical and mythological themes. In fact, this picture combines three distinct genres: the domestic interior, landscape and seascape. The setting of the room contains detailed architectural moldings and patterned wallpaper; a mysterious, densely wooded landscape, rooted in the floorboards and pushing upward into the ceiling intrudes on one side of the room; yet most amazing of all are the sea waves that roll in from some unseen horizon. De Chirico had employed skewed and inconsistent perspectives since his famous piazza scenes of 1912; here the door stands awkwardly in place--it is, ambiguously, either the entrance into this disconcerting but not especially frightening dreamscape, or the only prospective route of escape from it. The direction of the floorboard seams runs diagonally counter to the decorative ceiling moldings. Many of the elements seen here also feature in de Chirico's La camera dell'artista sul Mediterraneo (The Artist's Room over the Mediterranean), 1928 (fig.1). The latter painting contains many more components, and this cluttered look appears to be related to a nostalgic turn in the artist's thinking, whereas the contending elements in the present painting create the stark, unexpected and jarring surreality of a dream.

    In a text written in 1927, De Chirico described his motivation for a kind of related painting, in which motifs drawn from antiquity mingle with natural natural elements:

    (fig. 1) Giorgio de Chirico, La camera dell'artista sul Mediterraneo (The Artist's Room over the Mediterranean), 1928. Private Collection. Courtesy of Galleria Dello Scudo, Verona. BARCODE 25995589

    Provenance

    Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Dusseldorf.
    Galerie Bonjean, Paris (by 1931).
    Christian Belle, New York.
    Norman E. Mack, Palm Beach.
    Anon. sale, Christie, Manson and Wood, London, 29 November 1989, lot 540.
    Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.


    Saleroom Notice

    The Fondazione de Chirico has confirmed the authenticity of this painting and have recorded it in their archives under the number 0031-09-08OT.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE COLLECTION OF ALICE LAWRENCE


    Literature

    G. Castelfranco, La pittura moderna 1860-1930, Florence, 1934, p. LVIII (titled Alberi nella stanza).
    R.H. Wilenski, Modern French Paintings, New York, 1940 (illustrated, pl. 87).
    L. Duca, Diptini di Giorgio de Chirico, Milan, 1945, p. XXII.
    M. Fagiolo dell'Arco and P. Baldacci, Giorgio de Chirico Parigi 1924-1929: dalla nascita del Surrealismo al crollo di Wall Street, Milan, 1982, p. 527, no. 164 (illustrated; illustrated again, p. 224).


    Exhibited

    London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Ltd., First Exhibition in England of Paintings by Giorgio de Chirico, October-November 1928, no. 18 (titled Intérieur forestal).
    Brussels, Palais des beaux arts, Exposition Internationale de l'art vivant, April-May 1931, no. 178.