Giorgio de Chirico. Piazza d’Italia (Souvenir d’Italie II) 1913 [luglio-agosto 1933].
Contributi al catalogo di Giorgio de Chirico. Dossier II
edited by Paolo Baldacci and Gerd Roos
Format 21 x 28 cm
112 pages in colour and b/w
This second Dossier in the Contributions to Giorgio de Chirico’s Catalogue series examines the most famous de Chirico case of the post-war period: the declared forgery of a ‘Piazza d’Italia’ purchased in 1946 by Dario Sabatello from the Galleria del Milione, which had formerly belonged to the Frua, Valdameri and Della Ragione collections. The trial that followed between 1947 and 1955 resonated worldwide due to the notoriety of those involved. In the first instance, the Court of Rome ruled that de Chirico had lied and that the painting was authentic, in the second instance this ruling was overturned and the sentence that declared the painting to be forgery was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1956.
The volume leads the reader to discover the historical truth, which is very different from the procedural truth that has marked the destiny of this work even in recent times. One discovers that although the painting bears the date 1913, it was painted in Paris in the summer of 1933, exhibited in the retrospective exhibition in Zurich in September, and was immediately afterwards sold by de Chirico to the famous collector Alberto Della Ragione. Consequently, the theory formulated by the artist in his Memoirs of 1945 based mainly on this episode, that he was the victim of a plot hatched by Surrealist and Modernist circles to disqualify his recent painting and flood the market with forgeries, is shown to be completely unsubstantiated.
The study not only contributes to the recovery of an authentic work for the artist’s catalogue, but is above all an invitation to objectively reformulate the history of the fifteen years between 1933 and 1948, the crucial period in which the extremely complicated yet not inextricable tangle that constituted the “de Chirico case” was formed.