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"Giorgio Morandi: The Collectors Eye"
2001-05-16 until 2001-08-26
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
UK United Kingdom
This exhibition comprises twelve oil paintings from four private collections in Florence,
most of which are not normally on view, together with ten drawings and eighteen
etchings from the Estorick Collection. The works range in date from 1912 to 1959 and
the core of the exhibition is nine paintings from the collection of Roberto Longhi
(1890-1970) who was the most important Italian art historian and critic of his time and
became a life-long friend of the artist as well as a collector of his work. The other
three paintings are a 1935 landscape given by Longhi to his doctor, Professor Noferi,
a 1943 landscape which was a wedding present from Longhi to the critic Piero
Bigongiari and a 1936 landscape from the Alberto Della Ragione collection which was
given to the city of Florence after he was asked to help following the disastrous flood
Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) is one of Italy's best-known 20th century artists. He was
born in Bologna and lived there throughout his life, except for a number of short stays
in Grizzana, a mountain village between Bologna and Florence. He enrolled at the
Accademia di Belle Arti in 1907 and frequently visited Florence to study the
Renaissance masters; he also travelled to Rome, where he was impressed by the
work of Monet and CÚzanne, and Venice where in 1910 he first saw paintings by
Renoir. According to Longhi's introduction Morandi's favourite artists included: Giotto,
Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Bellini, Titian, Chardin, Corot, Renoir and CÚzanne.
Although Morandi knew and exhibited with many of the more avant-garde artists of
his time, he did not ally himself with any group but pursued his own ideas of natural
truth. Perhaps as a result of this he was given no official recognition until winning the
prize for painting at the 1948 Venice Biennale.
Morandi's sensitive use of light imbues the shapes of the mundane objects that he
repeatedly painted such as pots, bottles and boxes with a mysterious monumentality
and allows them to convey a sense of timelessness. He is probably best known for
these intense still lifes in which he captures the essence of such ordinary objects as
vases of flowers, but he also painted landscapes of equally disquieting mystery and
achieved similarly remarkable results with his delicate drawings and etchings.
Giorgio Morandi: the Collectors' eye provides a fascinating opportunity to
analyse the artistic choices of Italian critics and collectors who were Morandi's
contemporaries and to compare them with those made by Eric Estorick who was a
passionate collector as well as a dealer in 20th century Italian art.
The exhibition is accompanied by an 84 page, full illustrated catalogue published by
the Estorick Foundation.