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Still life



Giorgio Morandi


20 Jul 1890 - 18 Jun 1964


‘Still life’ 1947 is the third painting by Giorgio Morandi to enter the Gallery’s collection. Painted earlier than our other two paintings (1949 and 1957), and one year before Morandi won the first prize for painting at the 1948 Venice Biennale, one of the major turning points in his career. Over the ten year span of these three still-lifes, Morandi remained perfectly consistent in his approach to painting. He was able to make an extraordinary virtue of his self-limitation. What some have construed as a poetics of silence and others as a pathology of withdrawal, Morandi’s contemporaries recognised as qualities of his uprightness and decency: he was one of the few Italian artists of his generation who resisted the taint of fascism. In addition, the narrow compass of Morandi’s art proved wonderfully conductive to concentrating the mind and heightening the senses.

‘Still life’ 1947 has all the hallmarks of classic Morandi paintings because of its quite radical and unrelenting opacity, frontality and symmetry. As a consequence of these qualities, viewers are made acutely conscious of the unity of the image, surface, shape and size of the canvas; they are confronted by the fleshiness of Morandi’s paint. Thus attuned, the altered pressure of Morandi’s touch, slight squirms and tremors in the drag of his brush, infinitesimal shifts in tone and colour are registered as events of exquisite artistry.


Alternative title

Natura morta



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


35.2 x 44.8 cm sight; 61.2 x 70.8 x 4.8 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed u.r., white oil paint "Morandi". Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by Rob and Jenny Ferguson and the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 2007

Accession number


Artist information

Giorgio Morandi

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Galleria del Milione, Milan/Italy, stamp verso, no dates

Galleria del Secolo, Rome/Italy, label verso no dates

Galleria d'Arte R. Rotta, Genoa/Italy, 1953, exhibited in 'Mostra d'Arte Contemporanea'

Galleria d'Art Zanini, Rome/Italy, stamp verso, no dates

Galleria Annunciata, Milan/Italy, stamp verso, no dates

Rezzonico Collection, Locarno/Switzerland, by 1988, lent to 'Progetto Morandi Europa, antologica' travelling exhibition and Kunstmuseum Winterthur 2000

Crane Kalman Gallery, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Crane Kalman Gallery 2007

Referenced in 8 publications


Edmund Capon, Look, 'Our first Hockney... and our third Morandi', pg.12-15, Sydney, Dec 2007-Jan 2008, 15 (colour illus.).

Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, Progetto Morandi Europa, antologica, 1988, (illus.).

Galleria d'Arte R. Rotta, Mostra d'Arte Contemporanea, Genova, 1953.

Kunsthalle Tübingen, Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1964: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Radierungen, Cologne, 1989, (illus.).

Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Giorgio Morandi: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Druckgraphik, Winterthur, 2000, (illus.).

Marlborough Monaco, Modern and contemporary Italian art, Monte-Carlo, 2002, 19 (illus.).

Studio d’arte Campaiola, Rome, Giorgio Morandi: nelle raccolte romane, Rome, 2003, 82-3 (illus.).

Lamberto Vitali, Morandi: catalogo generale, Milan, 1983, vol.1, (illus.).