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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BRITISH COLLECTION

Piazza d'Italia con Arianna

Piazza d'Italia con Arianna
signed 'G. de Chirico' (lower left)
oil on canvas
13 3⁄4 x 21 3⁄4 in. (35 x 55.2 cm.)
Painted in the mid-1950s
Private collection, Turin.
Galleria La Barcaccia, Rome, by whom acquired from the above on 4 May 1958.
Private collection, by whom acquired from the above and thence by descent; sale, Sotheby's, Milan, 25 November 2014, lot 7.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico (eds.), Giorgio de Chirico, Catalogo generale, vol. II, Opere dal 1910 - 1975, Falciano, 2014, no. 724, p. 277 (illustrated).
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.
Further details
The Fondazione de Chirico has confirmed the authenticity of this work. It is recorded in the archives under the number 0006⁄04/05.

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Lot Essay

In his works Giorgio de Chirico invokes the magic and mystery of his childhood in Greece through the strange conjunction of classical fragments, marble statues and mundane objects drawn from the modern world. The present Piazza d'Italia con Arianna, echoes de Chirico’s early Ariadne series, such as La ricompensa dellindovino of 1913 (Philadelphia Museum of Art) by centring the composition of the painting on the strangely animate encounter between a classical statue of Ariadne and other objects, such as the steam train in silhouette and the modern, concrete cube in the foreground. There is an overt pictorial play between the animate and the lifeless within the picture. The hauntingly beautiful, but lifeless classical stone statue depicting a living human figure is contrasted with other inanimate but luminescent and, in pictorial terms, lively, elements and objects such as the central tower, and the two men shaking hands, against a distant rocky landscape.
Piazza d'Italia con Arianna displays the enigmatic dreamlike quality that de Chirico often bestowed upon Mediterranean antiquity, speaking of the fundamental mystery and melancholy of human existence through the ages. Ariadne, the abandoned princess of Greek mythology, appeared in his work throughout his career, an ever-constant monument to loneliness and exile. The Piazza dItalia series display a pervasive sense of a crisis of modernity conveyed in his pictorial articulation of a strange or disjunctive antiquity. In addition, like in Willhelm Jensen's story of Gradiva which so obsessed André Breton and many other Surrealists' imaginations, there is always in de Chirico’s evocation of the antique a sense of mystic continuity between past and present.
Time, too is often suspended or even subverted in the Piazza d'Italia paintings, many of which often bear deliberately incorrect dates inscribed by the artist. Indeed, in these poetic but stage-set paintings, all is artifice; time has effectively come to a stop. Only the pervasive feeling of melancholy, implied in the present lot by the contemplative statue of Ariadne reclining, imbues these paintings with any emotion or Dionysian sense of life.
Combining themes of chaos and time, of harmony and eternity and also of the essentially hermaphroditic nature of artistic creation, De Chirico's Piazza d'Italia paintings are, like the images they show, repetitive monuments to the metaphysical odyssey that man takes through life. Depicting more or less the same scene, this odyssey represents a spiritual voyage beyond time but rooted in the timeless and eternal myth of Ariadne and her thread.

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