This work is sold with a photo-certificate dated Bologna, lì 15 marzo 1964, signed by the artist and numbered 768 in the artist's archive.
'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 L. Klepac, Giorgio Morandi: the dimension of inner space, exh. cat., Sydney, 1997, p. 12).
Executed in 1944, Natura morta's light colours and sense of space herald the increasingly mirage-like style that came to characterise Morandi's work in the 1940s and 1950s. The purplish tinge on the right-hand bowl, reflected in its neighbouring object, also recurs in the predominantly white bottle at the left, adding a gentle, sunset tone to the objects. Despite his rare use of this slightly coloured bowl, the purple was evidently of great interest and significance to Morandi, as he has deliberately tinted his signature with the same colour, bringing attention to the subtleties at play in his palette. Despite the solidity of the objects, and their apparent sturdiness, this purple light effect adds an ephemeral quality to Natura morta.
Morandi worked hard to achieve the correct composition, the correct formation of objects in order to harness the meditative qualities he so sought in his paintings. Natura morta is one of a small group of works that all feature an almost identical group of objects. However, here, Morandi, in what was evidently the culmination of the attempts, features an additional object at the back on the left. This adds a new-found sense of depth, and therefore strength to the composition, which evidently resolved the painting in his eyes.
The vessel at the rear also allowed Morandi to show a mere glimpse of an object in the gap between two other objects. Morandi particularly enjoyed featuring such tiny patches of an object as it added a sense of abstraction, here emphasised by the extreme painterliness of the surface. This sliver of white in the work gives the viewer a disproportionate amount of information compared to its size, hinting at the size and shape of the object behind and thereby demonstrating the arcane magic that Morandi captured so perfectly in his works.