The recent standoff between Cady Noland and the seller of a work she repudiated is hardly the first time an artist has become oppositional to her market. But one of the most compelling stories in this genre is the tale of Giorgio De Chirico, the Italian proto-Surrealist who changed painting styles after World War I leaving his audience and collectors behind. Eventually, De Chirico decided to benefit from his own earlier work and fame by painting later works in the earlier style. Some of these works were even dated from the earlier, more valuable period.
Today, The Art Newspaper reveals a complex, multi-front battle between two former friends and De Chirico foundation board members:
“From 1933 onwards [the artist] flooded the market with an avalanche of backdated work,” write Baldacci and Gerd Roos, the vice-president of the archive, who are co-authors of its latest study on the history of one painting that De Chirico signed and dated 1913, but which the authors argue was made in 1933.
Baldacci believes the artist made “around 140” of these backdated paintings, but Picozza estimates that there are only “around 40”. Baldacci says that he and Roos are now working on the second edition of a monograph on De Chirico’s metaphysical period, to include all works from 1909 to 1942 with “ascertained dates”.
But the story and the issue is far deeper than how many backdated paintings exist. It’s worth reading and then thinking about the question of who provides confidence in any artist’s market.
Challenge to De Chirico authentication board (The Art Newspaper)