Giorgio de Chirico

Biography

Born in Volos (Greece) in 1888, he attended the Polytechnic School of Athens (1903-1906) and after the death of his father, he moves to Italy with his family. After two small sojourns in Venice and Milan, he moves to Munich where he attends the Fine Arts Academy. In his first works there’s an intensive influence of the works of Bocklin and Klinger, as shown through his sensibility for classical mythology and through his sense of absolute depth and dramatic loneliness: for instance the Italian Town Squares he represents are completely empty and metaphysical. In 1911 he is in Paris and in 1912 he participates in the Salon d’Automne at the Grand Palais and in 1913 he exhibits three paintings at the Salon des Indépendants. In Paris he meets Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, Giovanni Papini, Ardengo Soffici, Fernand Léger, Constantin Brancusi, Max Jacob, André Derain, and Georges Bracque. He then began his iconographic cycle of  his mannequin-like hybrid figures. Back in Italy after the outbreak of the war he moved to Ferrara and began his first metaphysical interiors and his famous paintings Il grande metafisico, Ettore e Andromaca, Il trovatore e Le Muse inquietanti. He met Carlo Carrà and Filippo de Pisis at the Ferrara hospital. De Chirico met and married his first wife, the Russian Ballerin, Raissa Gurievich in 1925, and together they moved to Paris. In 1928 he held his first exhibition in New York and shortly afterwards, in London. He wrote essays on art and other subjects, and in 1929 published a novel titled Hebdomeros, the Metaphysician. In 1930, De Chirico met his second wife, Isabella Pakszwer Far, a Russian, with whom he would remain with for the rest of his life. Together they moved to Italy in 1932, finally settling in Rome in 1944. In 1948 he bought a house near the Spanish Steps, which is now a museum dedicated to his work. In 1939, he adopted a neo-Baroque style influenced by Rubens. De Chirico's later paintings never received the same critical praise as those from the metaphysical period. He resented this, as he thought his later work was better and more mature. He nevertheless produced backdated self-forgeries both to profit from his earlier success, and as an act of revenge—retribution for the critical preference for his early work. He remained extremely prolific even as he approached his 90th year. In 1974 he was elected to the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. He died in Rome in 1978.