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Giorgio de Chirico (Italian (born Greece), Vólos 1888–1978 Rome )

Oil on canvas
34 3/8 x 27 1/2 in. (87.3 x 69.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift in memory of Carl Van Vechten and Fania Marinoff, 1970
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    De Chirico painted this self-portrait while he lived in Paris from 1911 to 1915. He created there melancholy cityscapes that became exemplary for the Surrealist movement. His profile view recalls that of ancient Roman coins and medals. The artist sometimes pre-dated his works, as he did this one, several years after their actual date to assert the innovatory style of his pictures.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): G. de Chirico/ 1911; signed and dated (bottom right): G. de Chirico/ [illegible]

  • Provenance

    the artist (until 1923/24; sold in winter 1923/24 to Eluard); Paul Eluard, Paris (by 1924–35; sold on December 9, 1935, for Fr 4,000 [$264.20], as "Portrait de l'artiste," 1911, to P. Matisse); [Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1935; stock no. 396; sold on December 9, 1935, for $1,200, to Van Vechten]; Carl Van Vechten, New York (1935–d. 1964); his widow, Fania Marinoff, New York (1964–70; her gift to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. 115 rue Notre Dame des Champs. "Exposition d'œuvres de Giorgio de Chirico dans son atelier," October 6–30, 1913, no catalogue.

    Milan. Galleria Arte. "Mostra personale del pittore Giorgio de Chirico," January 29–February 12, 1921, no. 1 or 2 (as "Autoritratto").

    Berlin. Nationalgalerie. "Das Junge Italien," April 7–May 1921, no catalogue.

    Hannover. Kestner Gesellschaft. "Das Junge Italien," May 22–June 19, 1921, no. 26 (as "Selbstporträt mit scharfen Umrissen").

    Dresden. Kunstausstellung Emil Richter. "Das Junge Italien," October 1921, no catalogue.

    Rome. Biennale. "Seconda biennale romana: Mostra internazionale di belle arti," November 4, 1923–April 30, 1924, no. 12.

    New York. Balzac Galleries. "Exhibition of Paintings by G. de Chirico," May 21–June 14, 1930, no. 8 (as "Self Portrait in Black") [possibly this picture?].

    New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Giorgio de Chirico, 1908–1918," November 19–December 21, 1935, no. 2 (as "Portrait de l'Artiste," 1911).

    Boston. Institute of Modern Art. "Pioneers," March 28–April 30, 1944, no. 7 (dated 1911; lent by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Van Vechten).

    Museum of Modern Art, New York. "De Chirico," March 30–June 29, 1982, no. 8 (dated 1911–12).

    London. Tate Gallery. "De Chirico," August 4–October 3, 1982, no. 8.

    Haus der Kunst Munich. "Giorgio de Chirico der Metaphysiker," November 17, 1982–January 30, 1983, no. 1 (dated 1911–12).

    Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou. "Giorgio de Chirico," February 24–April 25, 1983, no. 1 (dated 1911–12).

    Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 34).

    Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.

    Venice. Museo Correr. "De Chirico, nel centenario della nascita," October 1, 1988–January 15, 1989, no. 5.

    London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Italian Art in the 20th Century: Painting and Sculpture 1900–1988," January 14–April 9, 1989, no. 40 (dated 1913).

    Venice. Biennale, 46 Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte, Palazzo Grassi. "Identity and Alterity: Figures of the Body 1895–1995," June 11–October 15, 1995, no. IV 71 (dated 1911).

    New York. Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter . "Giorgio de Chirico and America," September 10–October 26, 1996, no. 1.

    Berlin. Martin Gropius Bau. "The Age of Modernism: Art in the 20th Century," May 7–July 27, 1997, no. 337 (dated 1913).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895 1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 29; dated 1911).

    Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf. "Die andere Moderne: De Chirico/Savinio," September 15–December 2, 2001, no. 81 (as "Portrait de l'artiste," 1913).

    Munich. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachaus. "Die andere Moderne: De Chirico/Savinio," December 20, 2001–March 10, 2002, no. 81.

    Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 28 (dated 1911).

    Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 28.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pierre and Maria Gaetana Matisse Collection," May 18, 2004–June 26, 2005, no catalogue.

  • References

    Roger Vitrac. Georges de Chirico. Paris, 1927, ill. p. 12.

    "Georgio [sic] de Chirico." Art Digest 4 (Mid May 1930), p. 9 [possibly this picture?].

    "Chirico: Balzac Gallery." Art News 28 (May 24, 1930), p. 10 [possibly this picture?].

    "Exhibit Reveals Chirico as First Surrealist." Art Digest 10 (December 1, 1935), p. 15, ill.

    "Chirico. Pierre Matisse Gallery." Art News 34 (November 23, 1935), p. 14.

    Carl Van Vechten. Letters to Gertrude Stein. December 9 [1935], January 9 and 28, 1936 [published in Ref. Burns 1986, pp. 463–64, 470–71, 476].

    Dictionnaire abrégé du Surréalisme. Paris, 1938, ill. p. 7.

    James Thrall Soby. The Early Chirico. New York, 1941, pp. vii, 19–20, pl. 3.

    Robert Melville. "Three Wooden Laths and Two Plaster Feet." Arson (March 1942), p. 10 [possibly this picture].

    James Thrall Soby. Giorgio de Chirico. New York, [1955], pp. 36–38, ill. p. 166.

    Claudio Bruni Sakraischik. Catalogo Generale Giorgio de Chirico. Vol. 4, pt. 1–3, Opere dal 1908 al 1930. [Milan], 1974, unpaginated, no. 256, ill.

    Maurizio Fagiolo. Giorgio de Chirico: Il tempo di "Valori plastici," 1918–1922. Rome, 1980, pp. 56–57, 102, fig. 76.

    Wieland Schmied in De Chirico: Leben und Werk. Munich, 1980, pp. 16, 285, no. 10, ill.

    Ester Coen. "Catalogo: Giorgio de Chirico." La Metafisica: Museo documentario. Casalecchio di Reno [Bologna], 1981, pp. 155–56, 161–62, no. 16, ill. p. 223 (color).

    Anna Maria Del Monte in Giorgio de Chirico, 1888–1978. Vol. 1, Catalogo. Exh. cat., Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna. [Rome], 1981, p. 62, fig. 7.2, under no. 7

    Maurizio Fagiolo. Giorgio de Chirico: Il tempo di Apollinaire, Paris 1911–1915. Rome, 1981, p. 126, no. 26, ill.

    Ivor Davies. "Giorgio de Chirico: The Sources of Metaphysical Painting in Schopenhauer and Nietzsche." Art International 26 (January–March 1983), pp. 57–58, ill.

    Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. L'opera completa di De Chirico, 1908–1924. Milan, 1984, p. 86, no. 39, ill.

    Edward Burns, ed. The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Carl Van Vechten, 1913–1946. Vol. 2, (1935–1946). New York, 1986, p. 464 n. 5, pp. 471, 476.

    Ross Woodrow in 20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Australian National Gallery. Canberra, 1986, p. 34, ill. (color).

    Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 125, colorpl. 104.

    Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. La Vita di Giorgio de Chirico. Turin, 1988, fig. 27.

    Matthew Gale. "The Uncertainty of the Painter: De Chirico in 1913." Burlington Magazine 130 (April 1988), pp. 273, 275.

    Pasqualina Spadini in De Chirico, nel centenario della nascita. Exh. cat., Museo Correr, Venice. Milan, 1988, pp. 196–97, no. 5, colorpl. 3.

    Roxanne Farrar. "Paradoxical Primitivism in the Early Art of Giorgio de Chirico (1911–17)." Athanor 9 (1990), p. 47, fig. 1.

    Matthew Valence Gale. "The Enigma of Fatality: The Work of Giorgio de Chirico, 1909–1924." PhD. diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 1992, vol. 1, pp. 8, 98, 100, 258, 364 nn. 121, 122, p. 403 n. 87, p. 408 n. 59, p. 428; vol. 2, fig. 54.

    Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. Giorgio de Chirico: Gli anni Trenta. rev. ed (1st ed., 1991). Milan, 1995, pp. 356, 363, ill. p. 56.

    Julia May Boddewyn in Giorgio de Chirico and America. Ed. Emily Braun. Exh. cat., Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College. New York, 1996, pp. 211–12, 242, no. 1, ill. (color).

    Susan Edwards in Giorgio de Chirico and America. Ed. Emily Braun. Exh. cat., Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College. New York, 1996, p. 231, under no. 27.

    Jennifer Landes in Giorgio de Chirico and America. Ed. Emily Braun. Exh. cat., Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College. New York, 1996, fig. 12 (Ref. Art Digest 1935).

    Mario Naves. "Later Visions: 'Giorgio de Chirico & America'." New Criterion 15 (November 1996), pp. 42–44.

    Paolo Baldacci. De Chirico: The Metaphysical Period, 1888–1919. Boston, 1997, pp. 162, 170, 177, 185, 206, 425, 430–33, 441, no. 25, ill. (color).

    Riccardo Dottori. "Quid est rerum metaphysical?" G. de Chirico: Nulla Sine Tragoedia Gloria. Ed. Claudio Crescentini. Florence, 2002, fig. 55.

    Wieland Schmied. Giorgio de Chirico: The Endless Journey. Munich, 2002, ill. p. 19 (color).

    Michael R. Taylor. Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2002, pp. 72–73, 77 n. 21.

    Sabine Rewald in "Selections from the Pierre and Maria Gaetana Matisse Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Spring 2004), p. 11, ill.

    Victoria Noel-Johnson in Nature According to de Chirico. Exh. cat., Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome. [Milan], 2010, p. 230 n. 9.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History