Dr Victoria Noel-Johnson (M.A. Hons, Ph.D.) is an independent British art historian and curator, specialising in early 20th century European art, with expert knowledge of Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978). Her analysis of important 20th century artists, as well as the reconstruction of now-dispersed European art collections and historic exhibitions, forms the basis of recent and forthcoming publications and projects.
Between 2008-2017, Victoria worked as the Curator of Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico (Rome) where she managed the Foundation’s extensive art collection and oversaw its international exhibition programme, including the organisation of shows in Russia, Japan and Brazil. During her tenure, she curated exhibitions in Italy and abroad and published widely in accompanying catalogues, publications and academic journals. She also coordinated and edited numerous publications such as La Casa-museo de Chirico (2009) and Giorgio de Chirico. Catalogo ragionato dell’opera sacra (2012).
In late 2017, she published De Chirico and the United Kingdom (c. 1916-1978), a book that establishes the fundamental role that the UK played throughout the artist’s career, as documented by over 550 documents sourced from 50 international archives (pp. 831).
In 2019, Victoria curated the revisionist exhibition Giorgio de Chirico: il volto della Metafisica (The Changing Face of Metaphysical Art), which featured over 100 works from the artist's entire career (Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, 30 March - 1 September 2019). She has recently opened Picasso, de Chirico and Dalì: A Dialogue with Raphael (curated by B. Avanzi and V. Noel-Johnson, MART, Rovereto, 2 May - 29 August 2021), a show that explores Raphael's influence on the artwork of three 20th century titans on the 500th anniversary of the Old Master's death.
Prior to her time at Fondazione de Chirico, she worked in London gaining experience in the secondary 20th century art market with both Christie's and Sotheby's , followed by a few years at the UK's oldest dealership, researching late 19th and early 20th century European artwork.
Victoria holds a first-class degree in History of Art (M.A. Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and received her Ph.D from the University of Glasgow with the thesis Taking possession of the past: Giorgio de Chirico and the great masters.
She is a member of the International Catalogue Raisonné Association (ICRA) and Association of Art History (AAH).
EXPERTISE & INTERESTS
Early 20th century Italian art, with a focus on Giorgio de Chirico's artwork and its influence on wide-ranging artistic movements including Dada, Surrealism, Magic Realism, Neue Sachlichkeit, the Novecento, Pop Art, Transavanguardia, and aspects of Postmodernism;
The revival of classicism in the work of select early 20th century European artists associated with the ‘Return to order’ (retour à l’ordre) phenomenon that took root in post-bellum Europe;
Charting the development of early 20th century European artists from figurative painting to increasing abstraction;
The reconstruction and revision of historically-important early 20th century exhibitions and art collections, placing particular emphasis on newly-retrieved archival documentation.