Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to present five masterworks created between 1966 and 1975 by Giorgio de Chirico (b. 1888, Volos, Greece; d. 1978, Rome, Italy). Employing strategies of appropriation and replication, these provocative late paintings capture the radical, enigmatic genius of the artist beyond his famed early years.
After World War I, de Chirico—who was hailed a Surrealist visionary for his Metaphysical paintings of the 1910s—renounced his celebrated aesthetic by invoking the old masters and art of antiquity in his Neoclassical series (1920s–1950s). His return to traditional painting received harsh criticism during an era doggedly in favor of Modernism. In response, the artist embarked on his final, and arguably most daring, trajectory by replicating his earlier Metaphysical style.
Thus, in the 1960s and 1970s, de Chirico brazenly reiterated themes from his popular early period, such as the Italian Squares, Muses, Trophies, Horses and Gladiators. While some paintings from this series embody a kitschy, stylistic take on the originals, other works are near-identical renditions. Believing that a painting’s original idea was more important than its artifact, the artist unabashedly backdated these reproductions—which he called verifalsi (true fakes)—to be synonymous with his earlier compositions.
The appropriative strategies of de Chirico’s last series not only defied the expectations of his peers and critics, but also opposed modernism’s reverence for authenticity and uniquity. Some scholars have touted the late works as more progressive than the artistic legacy of Marcel Duchamp. The profound influence of these paintings extends to the rise of pop art—notably serving as a paramount source of inspiration for Andy Warhol—and the theoretical foundation for the post-modernist movement.