Art: Sideshow

Painter Giorgio de Chirico may be considered old hat at 62, but he wears his bowler with a difference. As the once-reigning genius of Italy's avant-garde "metaphysical school," De Chirico foreshadowed surrealism before World War I, then abandoned such enigmatic art to peddle a perfectly understandable brand of neoclassicism.

As a painter, De Chirico long ago lost his punch; as a peddler, he still has plenty of push. In June, the superannuated master proved it with an eye-catching ad for Fiat automobiles (TIME, July 3). Last week he was again honking his own horn at a conservative sideshow to Venice's vast international...

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