New York

Giorgio de Chirico

Robert Miller Gallery

Giorgio de Chirico’s 1972 retrospective at the New York Cultural Center remains one of the most important exhibitions in recent history. Almost none of the work had been seen in America before, and it provoked a largely negative, even hostile response. Much of it repeated themes and images from an earlier phase of de Chirico’s career: that The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1965, is a dilettantish copy of a similarly named painting from 1922 did not help critics toward the artist’s cause. Further discomfort was caused by paintings depicting 15th-century Venice, still lifes of oversized fruit in a landscape, and quasi-allegorical works such as the now-notorious St. George Killing the Dragon, 1940. These paintings confirmed a widely held belief, first set forth by André Breton, that de Chirico’s powers failed him suddenly and irrevocably in 1917.

Now the pendulum has swung to the other extreme,

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