In 1990, following the demise of the artist’s widow, Isabella Pakszwer Far, the Foundation inherited the artist’s apartment-studio as well as the majority of Giorgio de Chirico’s artistic patrimony, which comprises of numerous paintings, works on paper and sculptures, dating from the mid 1920s onwards. The collection consists for the most part of works executed by the artist during the last 30 years of his life, many of which were exhibited while the couple was living in the apartment (now the Giorgio de Chirico House Museum). In 1987, Isabella donated 24 of the artist’s works to La Galleria Nazionale in Rome. Some of his earliest paintings were among the works bequeathed: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother (1911), Lucretia (1921), Portrait of a Pregnant Woman (after Raphael, 1923) and the well-known Self- Portrait in the Parisian Studio (1934).
The Collection comprises mainly of paintings, with classical genres of portraiture, landscape and still life, and is unique in that it holds the largest single collection of Neometaphysical works from the years 1968-1976, a period in which de Chirico reinterpreted, in a new light, with brighter colours and serene atmospheres, a number of his early iconographic subjects such as the Mannequins and Archaeologists, as well as the mythological characters Hector and Andromache. Themes such as the Sun on the Easel, the Mysterious Baths and the Trophies came back to life, set inside the revolutionary spatial inventions of Metaphysical Art: the Italian Piazza and Metaphysical Interior.
The sculpture The Archaeologists (1940), a small hand-painted terracotta work, represents one of the artist’s first experiments in sculpture. Bronze sculpture editions are particularly prominent in number – with either natural, gold or silver patinas –, a technique by which de Chirico rendered the classic protagonists of his paintings into three-dimensional form. The monumental posthumous sculpture, Hector and Andromache (1986), greets visitors at the entrance of the Palazzo dei Borgognoni, 31 Piazza di Spagna, on their way to the House Museum upstairs.
The Foundation has continued to enrich its patrimony over the years with a number of acquisitions, with the aim of amplifying the perspective on de Chirico’s multifaceted production. In 2004, the monumental sculptural work, The Fish was acquired. Sculpted from Vicenza stone, the piece was once part of the Mysterious Baths Fountain (1973) located in Milan’s Sempione Park. The Fish is now on permanent loan to the Municipality of Milan and has been on exhibit at Museo del Novecento since December 2010. In 2004, the Foundation also acquired a copy of the 1941 edition of L’Apocalisse, edited by Raffaele Carrieri (a limited edition of 160 with 20 lithographs by the artist). The Foundation’s copy contains an additional 10 pastel-coloured plates by the artist.
The acquisition of a group of theatre costumes in 2006 is of particular interest. The collection consists of 19 costumes (some of which are hand-painted), designed by de Chirico for the 1931 production of Pulcinella (Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo) and the 1938 production of Protée. During the last several years, a number of drawings dating from the 1920s and 1930s have also been added to the collection, including Furniture in the Valley of 1927. The Foundation also has a number of works on longterm loan to various institutions, including The Archaeologists, a monumental sculpture in bronze currently on show at The Quirinal in Rome.
For its noteworthy size (over 600 artworks), the extraordinary quality of the individual pieces and the variety of techniques represented, the Foundation’s collection provides a unique observation point on the artist’s overall production: a privileged perspective following the continual variations tracing the long course of Giorgio de Chirico’s artistic journey and the continuous metamorphoses of his Metaphysical Art.