Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

Malinconia torinese

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Malinconia torinese
signed and dated '1915 g. de Chirico' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 13 1/8 in. (55 x 33.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1939
Galleria Il Milione, Milan (no. 3354).
Rino Valdameri, Milan.
Carlo Frua De Angeli, Milan, by 1949.
Private collection, Switzerland.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 3 December 1996, lot 214.
Dr. Giorgio Bassi, Milan, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Galleria Contini, Venice.
Private collection, Italy, by whom acquired from the above in 1998.
A. D. Pica, 12 Opere di Giorgio de Chirico, Milan, 1947, no. 2. G. A. Dell’Acqua, ’La peinture métaphysique, 1910 – 1919’ in Cahiers d’art, 1950, no. 1, pp. 121-165 (illustrated; dated ‘1915’).
W. Haftmann, Die Meister der italienischen Moderne: 2: Giorgio de Chirico, 1950, vol. II, p. 237 (illustrated; dated ‘1915’).
M. Carrà, P. Waldberg & E. Rathke, Metafisica, Milan, 1968, fig. 99 (dated ‘1915’).
M. Fagiolo dell’Arco, I Bagni Misteriosi De Chirico, Negli Anni Trenta: Parigi, Italia, New York, Milan, 1995, no. 37, p. 331 (illustrated: dated ‘circa 1918’).
Venice, Giardini di Castello, XXIV Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d'arte, Salle dei Maestri della Metafisica, 1948, no. 18, p. 32 (dated '1915').
Ostend, Palais des Thermes, Gloires de la peinture moderne: Hommage à James Ensor, July - August 1949, no. 49 (dated '1915').
Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, Art Italien contemporain, January - February 1950, no. 30 (dated '1915').
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Figuren uit de Italiaanse Kunst na 1910, March - April 1950, no. 34 (dated '1915').
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Exposition d'Art Moderne Italien, May - June 1950, no. 34.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Futurismo & pittura metafisica, November - December 1950, no. 138, n.p (dated '1915').
Verona, Galleria dello Scudo, Museo di Castelvecchio, De Chirico gli anni Trenta, December 1998 - February 1999, no. 33, p. 138.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

The Fondazione de Chirico has confirmed the authenticity of this work, which is recorded in their archives.

Malinconia torinese presents one of the most persistent and significant themes of Giorgio de Chirico's oeuvre. First explored in the early 1910s, this scenario made of empty buildings, melancholic shadows and mysterious trains puffing in the distance constituted the enduring ground on which metaphysical yearnings, biographical memories and philosophical ideas enacted de Chirico's artistic drama. Between the classical geometry of the arches of buildings at the left and right, the silhouette of a train slides silently along the horizon line in front of a sinister and anonymous building. Shadows grow, while the sun seems to set in the distance. Although painted circa 1939, De Chirico himself inscribed the work with an earlier date '1915', alluding, as he often did, to earlier works and periods of his oeuvre.

Malinconia torinese belongs to a group of works including the Piazza d'Italia in which de Chirico explored the Metaphysical potential of empty squares through a series of subtle variations in colour and composition, often adding statuary or mysterious figures shaking hands. This practise of subsequent revisions of a given theme, Paolo Baldacci has argued, visually manifests de Chirico's conception of history and art as cyclical temporal entities, expressing a philosophical vision of the world endowed to Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy (P. Baldacci, 'De Chirico, le date, il tempo, la storia', p. 5-14, in P. Daverio, ed., Giorgio De Chirico: I temi della metafisica, Milano, 1985). The subject of the piazza d'Italia recurs in de Chirico's oeuvre just as time repeats itself in the Nietzschean 'eternal return', and in fact allows the artist to reinforce that return.

This practice of series and variations resonates significantly with that of his fellow artist from the days of ‘Pittura Metafisica’, Giorgio Morandi. The present lot was exhibited in 1948 at the XXIV Esposizione Biennale in Venice when De Chirico’s rivalry with Morandi was at its peak, and De Chirico was incensed when Morandi was awarded the prize for Metaphysical Painting. In 1950 his response was to organise the first of three ‘Anti-Biennial’ exhibitions of works by himself and other ‘anti-artists’ at the Bucintoro Rowing Club.

De Chirico's long-lasting interest in the series of Piazza d'Italia was also nourished by the biographical and philosophical references from which the imagery itself was condensed. Scholars have often identified the grand architecture of these works with the piazze of Turin, a city which profoundly influenced de Chirico as early as 1911 when he spent there a few days on his way to Paris. Whilst the vast majority of the work in the series are unlocated Piazza d'Italia, the title of the present lot, Malinconia torinese, firmly locates the work in the city which was in his eyes 'the most enigmatic, the most disquieting city not only of Italy, but of the entire world' (G. d Chirico, 'La piazza', pp. 17-19, in M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, ed., Giorgio de Chirico: i temi della metafisica, Milano, 1985, p. 17).

Whilst the title of the work ties the composition firmly to Turin, the composition of Malinconia torinese is, like many of the Piazza dItalia, highly influenced by a number of works that de Chirico executed in another important city for his artistic development – Paris. The dark grey Classical architecture seen on the right of Malinconia torinese made up almost all of The Anxious Journey, painted in Paris in 1913 and now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (no. 86.1950). To the right of the composition, is just one tiny glimpse of a wall and the horizon through an arch, whereas the left hand side of the composition is dominated by a huge black steam engine powering towards the viewer – this is not the tiny steam engine seen in the far distance of Malinconia torinese.

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