Tuesday, November 25, 2008


If you like the Italian painter Giorgio De Chirico (1888-1978) to the point of buying his self-portrait, this carboncino e acquarello su cartone (carbon and watercolor on cardboard) with a Minerva in the background, made by the artist in 1966, can be a very very good investment.

De Chirico was an influential pre-Surrealist and then Surrealist Italian painter born in Volos, Greece, to a Genovese mother and a Sicilian father. He founded the scuola metafisica art movement.

After studying art in Athens and Florence, De Chirico moved to Germany in 1906 and entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (the same one that rejected Adolf Hitler in 1907), where he read the writings of the philosophers Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, and studied the works of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger.

De Chirico met and married his first wife, the Russian Ballerina Raissa Gurievich in 1924, and together they moved to Paris. In 1928 he held his first exhibition in New York City and shortly afterwards, London. He wrote essays on art and other subjects, and in 1929 published a novel entitled Hebdomeros, the Metaphysician. In 1930 De Chirico met his second wife, Isabella Pakszwer Far, a Russian, with whom he would remain for the rest of his life. Together they moved to Italy in 1932, finally settling in Rome in 1944. In 1939 he adopted a neo-Baroque style influenced by Rubens.

He remained extremely prolific even as he approached his 90th year. In 1974 he was elected to the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. He died in Rome on November 20, 1978. Estimated between
€14,000 et €18,000, this self portrait although not particularly interesting or beautiful was sold on auction for €20,800 ($26,097) in Milan, Italy in November 2008.

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