Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

Interno metafisico a Manhattan

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Interno metafisico a Manhattan
signed and dated 'g. de Chirico 1972' (upper right)
oil on canvas
19 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (49.5 x 40 cm.)
Painted in 1972
Acquired by the present owner, by 1995.
Tokyo, The Bunkamura Museum of Art, Giorgio de Chirico, A Metaphysical Life, November 2000 - January 2001, no. 63 (illustrated p. 137); this exhibition later travelled to Ishikawa, Prefectural Museum of Art; Oita, Art Museum, and Kyoto, Museum EKI.
Padova, Palazzo Zabarella, De Chirico, January - May 2007, no. 88, p. 246 (illustrated p. 247).
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Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan

Lot Essay

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

The demons of the city opened the way to me. When I returned home, other heralding phantoms came to meet me. I discovered new zodiacal signs on the ceiling as I watched its desperate flight, only to see it die in the depths of the room in the rectangle of the window which opened onto the mystery of the street. The door half opened on the night of the hallway had the sepulchral solemnity of the stone rolled away from the empty tomb of the resurrected. And the new annunciatory paintings took form. Like autumn fruit we are by now ripe for the new metaphysic.” (Giorgio de Chirico, from Zeus l’esploratore, 1918, in H. B. Chipp, Theories of Modern Art, Los Angeles, 1968, p. 447)

Written in 1918, de Chirico’s text echoes the vivid language of the imagery infiltrating his work of this crucial period in his oeuvre. Interno metafisico a Manhattan was first conceived as a drawing, Interno metafisico (fig. 1), from 1917 and was later reworked into the present painting in 1972 at which time de Chirico was visiting New York for a solo exhibition. Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco states in his catalogue notes for the 2007 Padova exhibition, that this painting is a meticulous reworking of a 1917 drawing from the artist’s Ferrara period, near the end of the First World War, which had previously not been realised on canvas (op. cit. p. 246). This reworking shows the artist returning once again to the potent compositions of his earlier days, readdressing the motifs contained therein; those objects, situations and thoughts that continue to return to him, that he continues to muse upon. Fagiolo dell'Arco cites small details that make fascinating changes in the scene, for example the smaller buildings in the background, which he identifies as more realistic in size, and the diagonal shadow in the foreground of the original, which acts as a semi-abstract compositional feature, replaced by a small form resembling a sundial in the later work. De Chirico’s return becomes a recollection and a rethinking at the same time, as in the dream world, where previously classified and ostensibly understood objects and situations recur with subtle and unsettling alterations and incongruities, bestowing an uncanny sense of déjà-vu.


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