Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ITALIAN COLLECTION
Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)

Natura morta

Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)
Natura morta
signed 'Morandi' (lower right)
oil on canvas
8 1/8 x 14 in. (20.5 x 35.6 cm.)
Painted in 1943
Acquired directly from the artist by the father of the present owner in 1943.
L. Vitali, Giorgio Morandi Pittore, Milan, 1965, no. 158 (illustrated).
L. Vitali, Morandi, Catalogo Generale 1913/1947, vol. I, Milan, 1977, no. 428 (illustrated).
K. Wilkin, Giorgio Morandi, Barcelona, 1997, no. 47, p. 52 (illustrated).
Bern, Kunsthalle, Giorgio Morandi, October - December 1965, no. 76. Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Gallerie Civiche d'Arte Moderna, Giorgio Morandi, 1978, no. 36 (illustrated).
Bologna, San Giorgio in Poggiale, Morandi nelle raccolte private bolognesi, March - April 1989, no. 14, p. 57 (illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Anne Elisabeth Spittler
Anne Elisabeth Spittler

Lot Essay

This work is sold with a photo-certificate dated Bologna, lì 6 marzo 1962, signed by the artist and numbered 553 in the artist's archive.

Natura Morta is a delicate, intimate example of Giorgio Morandi's still life compositions. Painted in 1943, the picture belongs to those works Morandi executed during the Second World War, as he continued to explore his quiet, poetic universe, despite the conflict and bombings. Bathed in the crisp, sunny light of the morning hours, a bowl, two white pots and an enigmatic fluted ball are arranged into an apparently simple composition. Drawn to the centre of the grouping, the viewer's eye lingers in the gap between these objects, absorbed by the luminous empty space that separates them. The two colours of the small ball are mirrored by the surrounding space, which expands into fields of pure colour: although shadows are cast on the surfaces, the latter seem to belong more to the intellectual realm of the artist's mind than to the physical world of tangible objects.

Natura Morta belongs to a series of four closely-related still lifes (Vitali, no.426-429). While in earlier works, Morandi had mainly concentrated his attention on tall objects, constructing architectural compositions, which often had a vertical emphasis, with Natura Morta he started to explore a new spatial dimension. Low and rotund, the elements in the picture channel the viewer's attention onto a small space, where their curved bodies and delicate hues gently modulate light and forms. It has been observed that Morandi's wartime still lifes slowly acquired gloomier, coppery colours. The present work, however, is a brilliant example of how - even during the war - Morandi was able to introduce a few surprising and memorable colours into his usually subdued palette. Natura Morta, which has remained in private hands since its acquisition from the artist and has never appeared on the market, constitutes a rare gem among Morandi's 1940s production.

Natura Morta is probably the result of one of Morandi's last concentrated efforts at still life painting, before his forced flight from Bologna to Grizzana. In 1943, the year this picture was painted, Morandi abandoned his studio in 'Via Fondazza' to seek refuge from the bombings in the countryside of Grizzana. There, far from his dusty bottles, he started working on landscapes. The subtly calibrated composition of Natura Morta, together with its soft palette, offers a tangible example of Morandi's wartime creative absorption, which allowed him to keep developing unperturbed his artistic vision throughout the war years.

From the perspective of the post-war years, Morandi's wartime work became to be regarded as a subtly troubled, yet miraculously uncorrupted contemplation of the visible world. In 1943, in the first published monograph with coloured plates dedicated to Morandi, the art publisher Vanni Scheiwiller celebrated the artist's independence from political events, praising the intellectual, aesthetic power of his works, which showed 'the triumph of the spirit over materialism' (V. Scheiwiller, quoted in J. Abramowicz, Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence, London, 2004, p. 176).

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