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:
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 901
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.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): G. de Chirico/ 1911; signed and dated (bottom right): G. de Chirico/ [illegible]
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)

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. Kestnergesellschaft. "Das Junge Italien," May 22–June 19, 1921, no. 26 (as "Selbstporträt mit scharfen Umrissen") [see Ref. Baldacci 1997].

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 München. "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 [withdrawn on January 10, 1989 for Exh. London 1989].

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. Palazzo Grassi. "Biennale, 46 Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte. 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 College. "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).

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

Munich. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus. "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.

Roger Vitrac. Georges de Chirico. Paris, 1927, ill. p. 12, as "Portrait de l'artiste," 1912.

"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?], mentions a "superb self-portrait" in Exh. New York 1930.

"Exhibit Reveals Chirico as First Surrealist." Art Digest 10 (December 1, 1935), ill. p. 15, dates it 1911.

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], mentions that he has recently acquired this picture and now hopes to photograph de Chirico; remarks "Tell Chirico he hangs right in my room!".

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

Dictionnaire abrégé du Surréalisme. Paris, 1938, ill. p. 7, as "Portrait de l'artiste," 1912.

James Thrall Soby. The Early Chirico. New York, 1941, pp. vii, 19–20, pl. 3, dates it 1911, noting that it is de Chirico's second self-portrait; dates the first 1908 (formerly Collection Mrs. Stanley Resor, New York; now private collection, Lugano).

Robert Melville. "Three Wooden Laths and Two Plaster Feet." Arson (March 1942), p. 10 [possibly this picture], discusses an early profile self-portrait depicting "the enigmatic stare for stare of the frontal image".

James Thrall Soby. Giorgio de Chirico. New York, [1955], pp. 36–38, ill. p. 166, tentatively dates it 1912, even though it is signed 1911 at the base of the tower, since the lower border [mistakenly asserted as having been removed] appears to be signed and dated 1912; notes that in this picture the artist appears older and thinner compared to his first self-portrait (redated 1911 after conservation revealed the date "08" superimposed over the original inscription), possibly because of an illness suffered after he moved to France; remarks that the tower and brick wall are more indicative of the later "settled Parisian style".

Claudio Bruni Sakraischik. Catalogo Generale Giorgio de Chirico. Vol. 4, pt. 1–3, Opere dal 1908 al 1930. [Milan], 1974, unpaginated, no. 256, ill., dates it 1911.

Maurizio Fagiolo. Giorgio de Chirico: Il tempo di "Valori plastici," 1918–1922. Rome, 1980, pp. 56–57, 102, fig. 76, as "Autoritratto con faro," 1911; identifies it as no. 1 in Exh. Milan 1921.

Wieland Schmied in De Chirico: Leben und Werk. Munich, 1980, pp. 16, 285, no. 10, ill., dates it 1911; erroneously states that it was shown in the 1912 Salon d'Automne.

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

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. Giorgio de Chirico: Il tempo di Apollinaire, Paris 1911–1915. Rome, 1981, p. 126, no. 26, ill., dates it 1912–13, reading the original inscription as 1913; surmises that de Chirico added the 1911 inscription at the time of his 1921 Milan exhibition.

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), dates it 1912, based on stylistic evidence; notes that x-ray examination confirms that the 1911 inscription was added retroactively; states that areas in the right shoulder, collar, and parts of the tower and profile were repainted.

Robert Hughes. "The Enigmas of De Chirico." Time (April 12, 1982), p. 70, ill. (color).

Ivor Davies. "Giorgio de Chirico: The Sources of Metaphysical Painting in Schopenhauer and Nietzsche." Art International 26 (January–March 1983), p. 57, ill. p. 58, dates it 1912 in the text and 1911–12 in the caption.

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. L'opera completa di De Chirico, 1908–1924. Milan, 1984, p. 86, no. 39, ill., dates it 1913.

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), asserts that it was probably painted in 1912 and backdated 1911; notes that de Chirico sometimes added dates to his paintings later in his career because "he wished to affirm the innovatory nature of his work" after it had been widely imitated.

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.

Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 125, colorpl. 104, dates it 1911.

Pasqualina Spadini in De Chirico, nel centenario della nascita. Exh. cat., Museo Correr, Venice. Milan, 1988, pp. 196–97, no. 5, colorpl. 3, dates it about 1912–13; notes that it is often called "Autoritratto con torre (Self-Portrait with Tower)"; surmises that de Chirico added the 1911 inscription around the time of his 1921 Milan exhibition to refute Carlo Carrà's claim to having invented metaphysical painting.

Matthew Gale. "The Uncertainty of the Painter: De Chirico in 1913." Burlington Magazine 130 (April 1988), pp. 273, 275, calls it "Self-Portrait with Tower" and dates it 1913 based on its iconography; groups it with other 1913 portraits marking a return to realism, such as "Mme Gartzen" (private collection); notes that it was reworked in the 1920s; suggests a connection to a large-scale self-portrait discovered beneath the surface of "Gare Montparnasse" (1914; Museum of Modern Art, New York) with the MMA picture serving "either as a compensation for the abandonment of the larger work or as a stimulant to its production".

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. La Vita di Giorgio de Chirico. Turin, 1988, fig. 27, dates it 1913.

Roxanne Farrar. "Paradoxical Primitivism in the Early Art of Giorgio de Chirico (1911–17)." Athanor 9 (1990), p. 47, fig. 1, calls it "Self-Portrait with Tower"; dates it 1911 in the text and 1911–12 in the caption; erroneously locates it still in the Van Vechten collection; compares it to Paolo Uccello, "Portrait of a Young Man" (1440–50; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Chambéry).

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, calls it "Autoportrait (with tower)" and dates it 1913.

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. Giorgio de Chirico: Gli anni Trenta. rev. ed (1st ed., 1991). Milan, 1995, pp. 356, 363, ill. p. 56, as "Come faro," 1913.

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).

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), dates it 1912–13, noting that de Chirico added the 1911 inscription to correspond with the year he arrived in Paris; reads the original inscription along the bottom edge as either 1912 or 1913, adding that the artist started signing his name "G. de Chirico" only after mid-1912; lists the brick wall, tower with flags, and black outlines as iconographical elements found in other 1912–13 paintings.

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.

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), calls it "Portrait de l'artist (Self-portrait)" and dates it to the first half of 1913; confuses locations of the two inscriptions; states that a 1913 contract ceded all of de Chirico's works to Paul Guillaume, except for some early pictures, including this one; lists it among those works the artist wished to keep and had his mother send to him in Italy from his Paris studio in October 1915.

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, dates it 1913; asserts that the absence of pupils or irises in this picture and the 1911 self-portrait (private collection, Lugano) shows the artist identifying with the role of soothsayer or seer.

Wieland Schmied. Giorgio de Chirico: The Endless Journey. Munich, 2002, ill. p. 19 (color), dates it 1913.

Riccardo Dottori. "Quid est rerum metaphysical?" G. de Chirico: Nulla Sine Tragoedia Gloria. Ed. Claudio Crescentini. Florence, 2002, fig. 55, dates it 1911–12.

Sabine Rewald in "Selections from the Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Spring 2004), p. 11, ill., dates it 1911.

Victoria Noel-Johnson in Nature According to de Chirico. Exh. cat., Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome. [Milan], 2010, p. 230 n. 9, dates it 1913.