Giorgio De Chirico (Italian, July 10, 1888–November 20, 1978) was a notable Surrealist painter and graphic artist who founded the Metaphysical Art movement. He was born in Volos, a coastal city of Thessaly, and was encouraged by his father from a young age to cultivate a passion for art. In 1906, De Chirico enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Once he moved to Germany, De Chirico exposed himself to the latest philosophical, literary, and artistic culture. He read authors such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Otto Weininger, and Friedrich Nietzsche while also studying the art of Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, 1827–1901) and Max Klinger (German, 1857–1920). These influences helped De Chirico develop his style after he moved back to Italy in 1908, where he created the first painting associated with the Metaphysical Art Movement: Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon.

In July 1911, De Chirico traveled to Paris, where his artistic career blossomed. He was able to gain a connection, through his brother, with Pierre Laprande, a jury member at the Salon d'Automne. During this time, he exhibited three works at the Salon d'Automne: Enigma of an Afternoon, Self Portrait, and Enigma of the Oracle, which even gained the interest of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973). De Chirico's fame stemmed from the Surrealist qualities inherent in his works. The cityscapes were treated not as bustling urban areas, but as the eerily empty scenes encountered in dreams, with the potential of symbolic meaning. De Chirico also favored the depiction of Italian architecture with its broad archways and piazzas. However, he disapproved of the formal innovations of Modern Art and instead opted for a realism that allowed simple, straightforward representation. After the start of the First World War, the artist attempted to enlist in the Italian army but was labeled as "unfit" for work. Instead, he moved to Rome and continued his life as an outspoken painter against Modern Art, eventually writing an article in the magazine Valori Plastici called "The Return of Craftsmanship." The article supports his love of Classicism and the style of the Old Masters such as Raphaël (Italian, 1483–1520).

In 1929, De Chirico published the novel Hebdòmeros, the Metaphysician. Twenty years later, the artist bought a house with his second wife Isabella Pakszwer Far near the Spanish Steps in Rome, which later became a museum for his works. He managed to remain productive up until the 1970s. He was elected to the French Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1974, and died in Rome on November 20, 1978.

Timeline

1888
Born: in Volos, Greece
1900
Began studies at the Athens Polytechnic Institute, Athens, Greece
1906–1909
Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Germany
1911–1915
Lived in Paris, France
1979
Died: in Rome, Italy

Exhibitions

2013–2014
De Chirico / Warhol. Self-Portraits, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, St. Moritz, Switzerland
2012
Giorgio de Chirico. Selbstporträts, Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin, Germany
2010
Nature According to De Chirico, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy (solo)
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
2009
Giorgio de Chirico. La fabrique des rêves, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (solo)
2008
A Metaphysical Journey, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2007
De Chirico, Palazzo Zabarella, Padua, Italy (solo)
2002–2003
Giorgia de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne, Philidelphia Museum of Art, Philidelphia, PA (solo)
1998–1999
De Chirico gli anni Trenta, Galleria Dello Scudo, Verona, Italy (solo)
1994
De Chirico and the Surrealists, Paolo Baldacci Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1984
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY
1982
Works, Gallery Medusa, Rome, Italy
1975
Musée Marmottan, Paris, France
1974
Academy des Beaux Arts, Paris, France
1972
Cultural Centre, New York, NY
1970
Retrospective, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy (solo)
Sculptures, Gallery Medusa, Rome, Italy
1966
Omaggio a de Chirico, Gallery Medusa, Rome, Italy (solo)
1955
Musuem of Modern Art, New York, NY
1949
Royal Society of British Artists, London, UK
1928
Valentine Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Arthur Tooth Gallery, London, UK (solo)
1927
Galerie Paul Guillaume, Paris, France (solo)
Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, France (solo)
1926
Galerie Paul Guillaume, Paris, France (solo)
1925
Galerie l'Effort Moderne, Paris, France (solo)
1924
Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
1921
Galleria Arte, Milan, Italy (solo)
1918–1919
The Casa d'Arte Bragaglia, Rome, Italy (solo)
1914
Salon des Independants, Paris, France
1913
Salon des Independants, Paris, France
Salon d'Automne, Paris, France
1912
Salon d'Automne, Paris, France