• The Italian Sale  auction at Christies

    Sale 7757

    The Italian Sale

    16 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 57

    Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)


    Price Realised  


    Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)
    signed 'Morandi' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    10 x 11¾ in. (25.5 x 30cm.)
    Painted in 1952

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    Flowers, that great staple of Still Life painting, had featured in Giorgio Morandi's oeuvre even when he had been a child, and continued to occupy an important place in his output for the rest of his career. In Fiori, painted in 1952, he presents the viewer with a cameo-like area within the larger surface of the canvas in which he has rendered the titular flowers using a deliberately limited range of colours. In this, Fiori can be seen as a modern, stylised response to the Still Life paintings of Morandi's great artistic hero, Chardin. In part recalling the earlier painter's works, Morandi's own palette has brought a warm earthiness to the composition. At the same time, it introduces that distinctive notion of stillness and timelessness that is so crucial to the unique, contemplative atmosphere that renders his paintings so engaging and so poetic. Morandi said of himself, 'I am essentially a painter of the kind of still life composition that communicates a sense of tranquillity and privacy, moods which I have always valued above all else' (Morandi, quoted in Lou Klepac, Giorgio Morandi: the dimension of inner space, exh. cat., Sydney, 1997, p. 12). Nowhere is this more evident than in his pictures of flowers; indeed, the meditative atmosphere that he distilled into his works was in part heightened in these works because of his use of silk flowers, rather than the real thing. These flowers, then, have not wilted, nor will they: instead, they have accumulated that distinctive Morandi layer of dust.

    Compositionally, Morandi has revealed the discreet beauty of these flowers by contrasting the detailed depiction of the various creased and crinkled petals with the rest of the canvas, much of which is almost monochrome. There is a labyrinthine quality to the folds of the silk plants in the vase that teeters on the brink of abstraction, allowing Morandi to tap into the hidden layers of order that he perceived in the world around him and which he expressed through harmonious compositions such as Fiori.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Galleria del Milione, Milan.
    L. Carluccio, Turin.
    Galleria d'Arte Galatea, Turin.
    Acquired by the mother of the present owner and thence by descent.

    Pre-Lot Text



    L. Vitali, Morandi, Catalogo generale 1948-1964, vol. II, Milan 1977, no. 789 (illustrated).