Art: The Enigmas of De Chirico

MOMA reclaims his early brilliance from the polemical dust

The case of Giorgio de Chirico is one of the most curious in art history. An Italian, born in 1888 and raised partly in Greece—where his father, an engineer, planned and built railroads—he led a long, productive life, almost Picassian in length; he died in 1978. He had studied in Munich, and in his early 20s, under the spell of a symbolist painter named Arnold Böcklin, he began to produce a series of strange, oneiric cityscapes. When they were seen in Paris after 1911, they were...

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