Paris, 11 July 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
The city of Paris has received a donation of sixty-one major works by Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico. The set of paintings will join the permanent collections of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (MAM), which already houses three of the modern master’s paintings.
MAM will now boast one of the largest museum collections of the artist’s work. The donation consists of thirty paintings, eleven sculptures and twenty drawings by the Surrealist artist. Although de Chirico’s widow, Isa, donated the works in 1990, it took eleven years before they became the official property of the city of Paris, as a dispute arose between Paris and Rome about a clause in Isa de Chirico’s testament.
The artist’s widow, born Isabella Pakszwer, named the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa De Chirico as the sole legatee of all the works of her husband that were in her possession. However, to thank the city of Paris for the “essential role” it played in the career of the painter, she donated a fifth of these works to the City of Light. She stipulated that a foundation should be created in Paris within ten years to house this donation; else the works would become the property of the city, which could then allocate the collection to a Parisian museum.
A bitter dispute arose between Paris and Rome, initially for tax reasons but subsequently about the legitimacy of the will, which the Italian foundation contested, refusing to hand over the works to Paris. It was only in 2009 with the exhibition entitled “Giorgio De Chirico, la fabrique des rêves” (Giorgio de Chirico, the dream factory) that relations between the two parties became more amicable. The exhibition was the first to highlight all of the Italian artist’s oeuvre, including less appreciated works. The Roman foundation appreciated the gesture and the two parties came to an agreement.
The city of Paris, where De Chirico exhibited in the early twentieth century at the Salon d’Automne, notably in 1912 and 1913, now safeguards an exceptional collection of works by the creator of metaphysical painting and precursor of Surrealism. The donation received by MAM is thought to be worth several million euros.