Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Ariadne

Artist:
Giorgio de Chirico (Italian (born Greece), Vólos 1888–1978 Rome )
Date:
1913
Medium:
Oil and graphite on canvas
Dimensions:
53 1/4 in. × 71 in. (135.3 × 180.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995
Accession Number:
1996.403.10
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 901
A statue of a slumbering Ariadne is in the foreground of this image of a desolate public square, rendered in de Chirico’s distinctive simple and broad forms. According to the Greek myth, Theseus abandoned his lover Ariadne on the island of Naxos while she slept. Ariadne acquired great personal symbolic meaning for de Chirico after he moved to Paris in 1911 and entered a period of isolation and loneliness. A dreamy escape into the classical past, the painting also serves as a retreat into de Chirico’s memories of his childhood in Greece.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Georgio de Chirico/ M.CM.XIII.
the artist, Paris (1913–21; on consignment in 1919 to Paulhan; acquired at the end of 1921 by Paulhan); Jean Paulhan, Paris (1921–55; sold, possibly through Pierre Matisse, to Marx); Samuel and Florene Marx, Chicago (1955–his d. 1964); Florene May Marx, later Mrs. Wolfgang Schoenborn, New York (1964–d. 1995; her bequest to MMA)

Paris. 115 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs. "Exposition d'œuvres de Giorgio de Chirico dans son atelier," October 6–30, 1913, no catalogue.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Giorgio de Chirico," September 8–October 30, 1955, checklist no. 2 (lent by Jean Paulhan, Paris).

Milan. Palazzo Reale. "Arte Italiana del XX Secolo da Collezioni Americane," April 30–June 26, 1960, no. 79 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Marx, Chicago).

Rome. Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna. "Arte Italiana del XX Secolo da Collezioni Americane," July 16–September 18, 1960, no. 79.

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collection," November 2, 1965–January 2, 1966, unnumbered cat. (p. 45).

Art Institute of Chicago. "The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collection," February 11–March 27, 1966, unnumbered cat.

City Art Museum of Saint Louis. "The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collection," April 26–June 13, 1966, unnumbered cat.

Mexico City. Museo de Arte Moderno. "The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collection," July 2–August 7, 1966, unnumbered cat.

San Francisco Museum of Art. "The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collection," September 2–October 2, 1966, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Florene M. Schoenborn Bequest: 12 Artists of the School of Paris," February 11–May 4, 1997, extended to August 31, 1997, brochure no. 5.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 82).

London. Tate Modern. "Surrealism: Desire Unbound," September 20, 2001–January 1, 2002, unnumbered cat. (fig. 41).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Surrealism: Desire Unbound," February 6–May 12, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne," November 3, 2002–January 5, 2003, no. 10.

London. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art. "Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne," January 22–April 13, 2003, no. 10.

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. "Giorgio de Chirico, la fabrique des rêves," February 13–May 24, 2009, no. 19 (as "Place avec Ariane").

Malibu. J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa. "Modern Antiquity: Picasso, de Chirico, Léger, Picabia in the Presence of the Antique," November 2, 2011–January 16, 2012, no. 20 (as "Square with Ariadne").

James Thrall Soby. Giorgio de Chirico. New York, [1955], pp. 52, 54–56, ill. p. 178, as in the collection of Jean Paulhan; notes that it is among the four largest pictures from de Chirico's early period; considers the statue in this picture to be based on de Chirico's plaster version of Ariadne (formerly collection Jean Paulhan, now in a private collection); lists five 1913 paintings in the Ariadne series: "The Soothsayer's Recompense" (Philadelphia Museum of Art), this picture, "Ariadne's Afternoon" (private collection), "The Silent Statue" (Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf), and "The Joys and Enigmas of a Strange Hour" (private collection); adds that two earlier paintings also included an Ariadne statue: "Melanconia" (1912; Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London) and "The Melancholy of a Beautiful Day" (1913; Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels) [see Ref. Taylor 2002].

John Maxon. "Samuel Marx, Chicago: Twentieth-century European Painting." Great Private Collections. Ed. Douglas Cooper. New York, 1963, p. 283, ill. p. 290.

Lucy R. Lippard in The School of Paris: Paintings from the Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Collection. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1965, pp. 44–45, ill., states that it was purchased by the Marxes in 1955.

Jean Leymarie. Jean Paulhan à travers ses peintres. Exh. cat., Grand Palais. Paris, 1974, pp. 120, 211, under no. 493, pl. 7, publishes an excerpt from a 1918 letter by the poet Giuseppe Ungaretti to Jean Paulhan asking him on de Chirico's behalf to buy the paintings de Chirico left in Paulhan's care during the war and attempt to sell them, offering one painting [possibly this picture] to be kept as a gift [see Ref. Baldacci 1997; May 4, 2000 letter from Jacqueline Paulhan in archive file].

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. Giorgio de Chirico: Il tempo di Apollinaire, Paris 1911–1915. Rome, 1981, pp. 46, 61, 127, no. 29, ill., calls it "Arianna" in the text and "[Piazza con Arianna]" in the caption.

Ester Coen. "Catalogo: Giorgio de Chirico." La Metafisica: Museo documentario. Casalecchio di Reno [Bologna], 1981, pp. 165–66, no. 24, ill. p. 228, calls it "Arianna".

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco in De Chirico. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1982, p. 32, discusses the Ariadne series as inspired by Nietzsche's interpretation of Ariadne as a symbol of enigma.

Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco. L'opera completa di De Chirico, 1908–1924. Milan, 1984, p. 84, no. 26, ill., as "Piazza con Arianna".

Matthew Gale. "The Uncertainty of the Painter: De Chirico in 1913." Burlington Magazine 130 (April 1988), pp. 271, 273 n. 20, calls it "Square with Ariadne"; notes that an underlying grid is visible on this canvas, a "squaring up" method used by de Chirico in several 1913 paintings to transfer compositions from drawings.

Matthew Valence Gale. "The Enigma of Fatality: The Work of Giorgio de Chirico, 1909–1924." PhD diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 1992, vol. 1, pp. 8, 92–93, 98, 112–13, 115, 364 n. 112, p. 368 n. 49, p. 369 n. 80, p. 414 n. 5, p. 450; vol. 2, fig. 43, calls it "Place avec Ariane" and asserts that Paulhan owned it by 1920; describes Ariadne's pose in this picture as among de Chirico's "most radical" interpretations of the Hellenistic "desperate" prototype for the figure; lists seven paintings in the series, adding "The Lassitude of the Infinite" (private collection) to those listed by Soby [Ref. 1955], but omitting "Melanconia" [see Ref. Taylor 2002]; elaborates on the Nietzschean interpretation of the Ariadne myth as the opposition of Apollonian rationality versus Dionysian creativity.

William S. Lieberman. "Donnés au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 539 (May 1997), p. 68, ill. (color).

Paolo Baldacci. De Chirico: The Metaphysical Period, 1888–1919. Boston, 1997, pp. 139, 170–71, 177, 430, 441, no. 32, ill. (color), calls it "Piazza con Arianna ( Ariadne)"; dates it summer–autumn 1913, noting that the Ariadne theme is comprised of eight paintings executed between spring 1912 and the end of 1913; does not identify it among the paintings left in Paulhan's care during World War I, although noting that it is difficult to determine which were left behind and which one Paulhan kept as his commission [see Ref. Leymarie 1974]; surmises that Paulhan sold the works in an auction; lists Paul Guillaume as owner before Paulhan; states that Paulhan never lent it to an exhibition and that he sold it to Marx in 1955 [see correspondence with Jacqueline Paulhan in archive file].

Michael R. Taylor. Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2002, pp. 26–27, 30–31, 34–36, 48 n. 29, p. 49 n. 45, pp. 84, 101, colorpl. 10 and ill. frontispiece (color detail), dates it summer or autumn 1913; lists the eight paintings in the Ariadne series (1912–13) in the following order of execution: "Melanconia," "The Melancholy of a Beautiful Day," "The Lassitude of the Infinite," "The Joys and Enigmas of a Strange Hour," "The Soothsayer's Recompense," this picture, "Ariadne's Afternoon," and "The Silent Statue"; considers this painting and "Soothsayer's Recompense" pendants; notes that the familiar motifs of a train and sailing ship appear together for the first time in this picture; compares the figure of Ariadne with Mantegna's "Lamentation over the Dead Christ" (about 1490; Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan) but also points out the influence of Cubism and Matisse.

Guigone Rolland in Michael R. Taylor. Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2002, p. 204, no. 10, states that Paulhan acquired this picture in 1924–25.

Claudio Crescentini. "De Chirico e le Avanguardie: rapporti." G. de Chirico: Nulla Sine Tragoedia Gloria. Ed. Claudio Crescentini. Florence, 2002, p. 71, calls it "Piazza con Arianna".

Jole de Sanna. "'Reise. Wanderung.' Tempo metafisico." G. de Chirico: Nulla Sine Tragoedia Gloria. Ed. Claudio Crescentini. Florence, 2002, pp. 221–22, calls it "Piazza con Arianna".

James Panero. "Exhibition Notes. 'Surrealism: Desire Unbound' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. February 6–May 12, 2002." New Criterion 20 (May 2002), p. 52.

Matthew Gale in Michael R. Taylor. Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2002, p. 62 n. 10.

Hans Henrik Brummer. Kleopatra blir Ariadne: Identitet och Förvandling. Exh. cat., Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. Stockholm, 2003, pp. 174–76, ill. (color).

Simonetta Fraquelli. "Philadelphia and London: Giorgio de Chirico." Burlington Magazine 145 (February 2003), pp. 120–21.

Jean-Louis Gaillemin. "Ariane et la ville." L'Œil no. 546 (April 2003), ill. pp. 50–51 (color), calls it "Ariane".

Jole de Sanna. "Matematiche Metafisiche (Metaphysical Mathematics)." Metafisica no. 3–4 (2004), pp. 55–56, 145–46, ill., calls it "Piazza con Arianna".

Magdalena Holzhey. Giorgio de Chirico, 1888–1978: The Modern Myth. Cologne, 2005, pp. 28–29, ill. (color).

Roger Rothman. "Between Böcklin and Picasso: Giorgio de Chirico in Paris, 1909–1913." Southeastern College Art Conference Review 15, no. 1 (2006), pp. 12, 14, fig. 9, ill. cover (color), dates it summer or autumn 1913; notes the influence of Cubism in the tilted perspective of the figure.

Emily Braun in Giorgio de Chirico, la fabrique des rêves. Exh. cat., Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Paris, 2009, pp. 71, 323, no. 19, ill. pp. 56–57 (color).

Claudio Crescentini. Giorgio de Chirico: L'Enigma Velato. [Rome], [2009], p. 158, calls it "Piazza con Arianna".

Carole Boulbès. "Paris. Giorgio de Chirico." Artpress no. 355 (April 2009), ill. p. 82.

Silvia Loreti. "Giorgio de Chirico." Burlington Magazine 151 (May 2009), p. 335, fig. 62 (color), calls it "Piazza with Ariadne".

Lorenzo Canova. Nelle ombre lucenti di de Chirico. Rome, 2010, ill. p. 77 (color), calls it "Piazza con Arianna".

Silvia Loreti in Christopher Green and Jens M. Daehner. Modern Antiquity: Picasso, De Chirico, Léger, Picabia. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Malibu. Los Angeles, 2011, p. 20.

Sara Cochran in Christopher Green and Jens M. Daehner. Modern Antiquity: Picasso, De Chirico, Léger, Picabia. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Malibu. Los Angeles, 2011, p. 36.

Jens M. Daehner in Christopher Green and Jens M. Daehner. Modern Antiquity: Picasso, De Chirico, Léger, Picabia. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Malibu. Los Angeles, 2011, p. 44.

Christopher Green in Christopher Green and Jens M. Daehner. Modern Antiquity: Picasso, De Chirico, Léger, Picabia. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Malibu. Los Angeles, 2011, pp. 67, 153, no. 20, colorpl. 22.

Victoria Noel-Johnson in De Chirico a Castel del Monte. Il Labirinto dell'Anima. Exh. cat., Castel del Monte, Andria. Milan, 2011, pp. 20–21, as "Piazza con Arianna (Ariadne)".

Ara H. Merjian. Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City: Nietzsche, Modernism, Paris. New Haven, 2014, pp. 34–35, 42, 64, 80, 260.



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