de Chirico Surprises Guston in Santa Monica

9/9 - 11/25 SMMOA Philip Guston and Giorgio de Chirico

"...It takes as its point of departure Guston’s initial exposure to de Chirico’s work as a teenager in Los Angeles, when he visited the famed modern art collection of Louise and Walter Arensberg. As Guston later explained to the filmmaker Michael Blackwood, the artist whose work made the deepest impression on him during this visit was Giorgio de Chirico, whose paintings were hung in a prominent position in the Arensbergs’ living room, alongside major works by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Henri Rousseau: “I was mostly struck by de Chirico. They hit me very hard. In fact it was seeing these paintings by de Chirico…it’s what made me resolve to be, want to be a painter. I felt as if I had come home.”


"At the end of their careers, Guston and de Chirico simultaneously embraced the idea of complete creative freedom. Flying in the face of received critical opinion, their canvases of the 1960s and 1970s sought to reinvigorate painting. Enigma Variations will feature several of de Chirico’s “New Metaphysical” works from this period—which will be on view for the first time in the United States. Although de Chirico’s late works had been much maligned by the critics, Guston remained an outspoken champion, always inspired and delighted by de Chirico’s “capacity to surprise.”


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