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

Natura morta

Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)
Natura morta
signed and dated ‘Morandi 1941’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
10 1/4 x 20 7/8 in. (27.3 x 53 cm.)
Painted in 1941
Private collection, Rome.
Private collection, London.
Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva (no. 2455), by whom acquired from the above, in November 1977.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, in July 1982.
Galerie Jan Krugier, ed., Dix Ans d'Activité, May 1983, no. 76, n.p. (illustrated).
L. Vitali, Morandi, Dipinti, Catalogo generale, vol. I, 1913-1947, Milan, 1994, no. 294, n.p. (illustrated).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Giorgio Morandi, July - September 1981, pl. 32 (illustrated).
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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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Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

‘I recall [Morandi’s] house as it appeared to me the first time I saw it, divided into two parts – two worlds… In the second lived the artist with his work – and one could not call it dirty only because the thick dust that covered everything was the result of a religious respect for sacred things…. These objects could not be touched by the hand, only by the heart guiding the brush on the canvas… Nevertheless, “touched” is still the correct verb to use. No humble object rendered marvellous by love was every more ardently (if immaterially) touched than Morandi’s models’
Raffaello Franchi

Five objects stand sentinel, like actors assembled on a stage, across the width of a table top in Giorgio Morandi’s Natura morta of 1941. This highly acclaimed wartime period saw the artist work at a prolific pace, retreating to his studio and his beloved collection of vessels and objects that served as the protagonists of his myriad still-life paintings. Rendered with a palette of soft, delicate and harmonious tones, this still-life sees the artist transform a group of quotidian objects into a deeply poetic, almost abstract array of colour, light and form. With their softly blurred, indistinct edges, and their unified colours, these objects are released of their utilitarian functions to instead become compelling pictorial elements in their own right. As Morandi famously declared, ‘To my mind, nothing is abstract. I also believe there is nothing more surreal and nothing more abstract than reality’ (Morandi, quoted in P. Mangravite, ‘Interview with Giorgio Morandi’ in K. Wilkin, G. Morandi, Works, Writings, Interviews, Barcelona, 2007, p. 141).

As was so frequent with Morandi’s practice, this work is one of a series of five near identical works (Vitali, nos. 291, 293-296), differentiated only through minute, often nearly imperceptible shifts in the placement of the same ensemble of objects within the composition. It was during, and immediately following the Second World War that this career-defining serial practice began in Morandi’s work. With an innate and acute understanding of compositional structures, Morandi could manipulate his chosen repertoire of objects to create a whole new picture, replete with subtle harmonies of colour and delicate shifts of light and shadow, mass and space. Describing this highly methodical and deeply contemplative practice, Morandi said, ‘It takes me weeks to make up my mind which group of bottles will go well with a particular coloured tablecloth. Then it takes me weeks of thinking about the bottles themselves, and yet often I still go wrong with the spaces. Perhaps I work too fast? Perhaps we all work too fast these days? A half dozen pictures would just about be enough for the life of an artist’ (Morandi, quoted in J. Herman, ‘A visit to Morandi’ in L. Klepac, Giorgio Morandi: the dimension of inner space, exh. cat., Sydney, 1997, p. 27). It is this careful measure, precision and contemplation that lends a work such as Natura morta its sense of meditative timelessness and pure, poetic visual restraint.

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