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Giorgio de Chirico’s pictures tend to ask more questions than they answer. Here, the self-described metaphysical painter used unexpected combinations of common objects, unusual perspective, and fractured space to create a scene that is at once familiar and strangely disquieting. You may wonder about specifics (for example, what are the various objects in the painting and how do they relate to the engineer in the title?), but the overall effect of the work is a palpable sense of longing. Such unease and uncertainty is not altogether surprising in a painting created during the depths of World War I.

Details

  • Title: Homesicknessof an Engineer
  • Creator: Giorgio de Chirico
  • Date: 1916/1916
  • Location Created: Ferrara, Italy
  • Provenance: The artist's studio, Ferrara, Italy. To Paul Guillaume, likely in 1916. Until 1917, the Galerie Paul Guillaume, Paris. Purchased by Serge Diaghilev, March 1917. Gift to Leonide Massine, Paris, March/April 1917. Purchased by Mary Harriman, date unknown. Mary Harriman Gallery, New York. Purchased by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., on behalf of Helen Lansdowne Resor and Roger Stanley Resor, New York (then New Canaan, CT). Gift to daughter Helen Resor Hauge, before or ca. 1940. Collection of Helen Resor Hauge and Gabriel Hauge, Norfolk, VA. Anonymous gift to Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, November 1981., Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Physical Dimensions: w10 1/4 x h13 1/4 in
  • Credit Line: Anonymous gift
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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