SMMoA Santa Monica Museum of Art

Philip Guston & Giorgio de Chirico

09 Sep - 25 Nov 2006

Enigma Variations: Philip Guston and Giorgio de Chirico
September 9 - November 25, 2006

Curators: Michael Taylor, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Lisa Melandri, SMMoA

Opening Reception: Friday, September 8, 7 - 9 p.m.

Philip Guston’s initial exposure to Giorgio de Chirico’s work came as a teenager in Los Angeles, when he visited the famed modern art collection of Louise and Walter Arensberg; Guston later said of his visit: “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.” Enigma Variations will explore the influence of de Chirico’s distinctive vision on Guston. This carefully selected exhibition of thirty paintings from early and late in the careers of both artists will reveal their direct affinities of subject and spirit. Specific motifs and passages in de Chirico’s enigmatic paintings—mannequins, gladiators, clocks, and canvas stretchers—reappear in Guston’s work transformed by the inimitable lens of his creative consciousness. At the end of their careers, both artists simultaneously embraced the idea of complete artistic freedom. Flying in the face of received critical opinion, their canvases of the 1960s and 1970s reveal similarities as they sought to reinvigorate painting. In doing so, they both created works of extraordinary visual power and unexpected beauty. A fully illustrated catalog with essays by Michael Taylor and Lisa Melandri accompanies the exhibition.

Tags: Giorgio de Chirico, FAMED, Philip Guston, Al Taylor, Michael Taylor