Still Life, 1953
Signed and dated 'Morandi 53' (lower centre)
Pencil on paper
23 x 32 cm (9 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.)
With frame: 43 x 55.5 cm (17 x 21 7/8 in.)
Private Collection, Milan
(Il Ponte, Milan, 10 December 2019; lot 49)
E. Tavoni and M. T. Morandi, Morandi disegni: catalogo generale, Milan, 1994, p. 121, no. 1953.4, illustrated.
Giorgio Morandi was educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, receiving his diploma in 1913. He studied the works of Uccello, Giotto and Masaccio in Florence and collected black and white reproductions of paintings he could not see at first hand, particularly those of Paul Cézanne and Henri Rousseau. He lived and worked in his native city throughout his career, sharing a small apartment with his mother and sisters. The details of Morandi’s life have given rise to a popular image of the artist as a reclusive, monk-like figure, an impression reinforced by the ostensible simplicity of his humble imagery. He was, however, well-informed about, and actively involved in, contemporary artistic debates. Morandi’s works have an extraordinarily broad appeal owing to their combination of abstract concision and exquisite naturalism. Morandi himself perceived no contradiction between these two qualities, and consistently maintained that “nothing is…more abstract than reality.” The archetypal “painter’s painter,” he endlessly reworked a narrow range of subject matter, in particular, still lifes, landscapes and flower studies, throughout his career.
In his extensive graphic work Morandi devoted himself mainly to the still life and achieved a high degree of intensive effect with economical means, especially in his drawings. Like Cézanne, Morandi explored the illusion of vision by depicting three-dimensional objects so that they seem to be apparitions. The boxes, jars and vase seen here were drawn as flat shapes that seem light and ephemeral, arranged in an irregular configuration and tightly compacted so as to layer, abut, and obfuscate the shapes of adjacent forms.
This work is accompanied by a photo-certificate issued by the Comitato per il Catalogo di Giorgio Morandi, Bologna, dated 12/04/2013
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