‘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.
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
Not on display
© Giorgio Morandi/SIAE. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Shown in 8 exhibitions
Mostra d'Arte Contemporanea, Galleria d'Arte R. Rotta, Genoa, 01 Jul 1953–20 Jul 1953
Progetto Morandi Europa, antologica:
- Sara Hildénin taidemuseo, Finland 04 Nov 1988–08 Jan 1989
- State Hermitage Museum, Russia 21 Jan 1989–19 Feb 1989
- State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Moscow 14 Mar 1989–16 Apr 1989
- Italian Academy of Art, London, London 02 May 1989–23 May 1989
- Pinacoteca Casa Rusca, Locarno 03 Jun 1989–20 Aug 1989
- Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany 23 Sep 1989–26 Nov 1989
- Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany 20 Jan 1990–18 Mar 1990
Giorgio Morandi, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, 01 Apr 2000–02 Jul 2000
Modern and contemporary Italian art, Marlborough Monaco, Monte-Carlo, 03 Oct 2002–30 Nov 2002
Giorgio Morand: nelle raccolte romane, Studio d’arte Campaiola, Rome, Rome, 27 Mar 2003–27 May 2003
Matisse and the moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 2015–25 Oct 2015
Modernists: selections from the European collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Nov 2015–25 Apr 2016
Margaret Olley: a generous life, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 15 Jun 2019–13 Oct 2019
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' cat.no.28
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 7 publications
Edmund Capon, Look, 'Our first Hockney... and our third Morandi', pg.12-15, Sydney, Dec 2007-Jan 2008, 15 (colour illus.).
Galleria d'Arte R. Rotta, Mostra d'Arte Contemporanea, Genova, 1953. cat.no.28
Kunsthalle Tübingen, Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1964: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Radierungen, Cologne, 1989, (illus.). cat.no.40
Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Giorgio Morandi: Gemälde, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Druckgraphik, Winterthur, 2000, (illus.). cat.no.13
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.). cat.no.567