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Giorgio De Chirico

1888-1978

Giorgio De Chirico was born in 1888, in Volos, the capital of Thessaly, Greece. His both parents were of Italian heritage. His father, named Evaristo De Chirico, was a railroad engineer. His mother, named Gemma Cervetto, was a noblewoman of Genoese origin. His brother, Andrea, was two years younger, he later adopted a pseudonym of Alberto Domenico Savinio in his work as a writer and musician. The two brothers supported each other through their entire life.

Giorgio De Chirico studied drawing with the Greek painter Mavrudis in Athens, where he attended the Athens Polytechnic Institute from 1900-1906. In 1906 his father died and the family moved to Munich. There De Chirico attended the “Akademie der Bildenden Kunste” (Academy of Arts). He also learned from the German artistic, literary and philosophical culture. At that time Munich was the center for innovations in art and design, where exhibited Arnold Boeklin, Max Klinger, Franz Marc, and Wassily Kandinsky.

In 1910, De Chirico visited Milan, Turin, and Florence, where he enjoyed the Italian art, especially the primitive Tuscan painting. In 1911, he settled with his brother Andrea in Paris. There he joined the circle of Guillaume Apollinaire, where he met Constantin Brancusi, André Derain, Max Jacob, Fernand Léger and others. His early metaphysical works were shown at the ‘Salon Automne’ and ‘Salon des Independants’ during 1912-1913, where he was noticed by Pablo Picasso. Guillaume Apollinaire organized a show of 30 works by De Chirico and published a review describing his art as ‘Methaphysical’ in ‘L’intrasingeant’.

During the First World War De Chirico was back in Italy, where he enlisted in the Italian Army and served at the hospital at Ferrara. There he met De Pisis and Carrà, with whom later formed the group that was called the ‘Scuola Metafisica’. His text ‘We Methaphysicists’ was published in 1919 for his first personal exhibition in Rome. His art was shown throughout Europe and gained attention from all major Surrealist, Dadaist and Bauhaus artists.

From 1929-1930 De Chirico was married to the Russian ballet dancer Raissa Gurievich Kroll.

The couple moved to Italy in 1932, and eventually settled permanently in Rome. De Chirico became a regular exhibitor at Venice Biennale. In 1948 he was nominated into the Royal Society of British Artists in London. During the 40’s and 50’s he was embittered by numerous arguments as he had to denounce many forgeries of his works flooding the market. He returned to scenography in the 60’s. At that time he also produced a number of bronze sculptures. In 1972 he received the title of Academic of France in Paris. De Chirico died on November 20, 1978, in Rome.

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