Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings
Published by David Zwirner Books.
Foreword by David Leiber. Text by Laura Mattioli. Contributions by John Baldessari, Lawrence Carroll, Vija Celmins, Mark Greenwold, Liu Ye, Alexi Worth, Zeng Fanzhi, Wayne Thiebaud.
This gorgeously produced monograph focuses on the period during which Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964) developed and refined his investigations of serial, reductive and permutational forms and compositions, a body of work that has had a profound influence on 20th-century contemporary art and painting. Included here are four of the ten iconic “yellow cloth paintings,” a series featured prominently in the historic 1998 exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and numerous late paintings by the Italian master. Lavishly reproduced, these immersive plates draw attention to the idiosyncratic perspectival and color-driven decisions that give the work its abstract power.
In addition to an essay by art historian Laura Mattioli, founder of the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA), the book includes a fantastic array of contributions by contemporary artists, including John Baldessari, Lawrence Carroll, Vija Celmins, Mark Greenwold, Liu Ye, Alexi Worth and Zeng Fanzhi. Each of the artists offers a personal response to Morandi’s work, and to the 2015 David Zwirner exhibition this book accompanies. Working in different mediums across many disciplines, this diverse list of contributors is a testament to the reach of Morandi’s paintings and their influence on contemporary art.
Giorgio Morandi was born in 1890 in Bologna, Italy, where he lived until his death in 1964. Over the course of his five-decade career, Morandi was most prolific during the postwar years from the late 1940s until the 1960s, when he executed more than half of his entire output of paintings. Remaining dedicated to the repertoire of subjects that had occupied him since the early 1910s, including tabletop still lifes of bottles, boxes, vases and flowers, as well as occasional landscapes, his variations on a given compositional motif became more persistent, nuanced, and abstract in the later part of his life. Through subtle shifts in color, tone, scale, composition, and mark-making, Morandi was able to convey the ever-changing perceptual understanding and memory of the objects and spaces one encounters. In 1993, the Museo Morandi was established in Bologna, Italy, and is currently located in the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.
David Leiber is a partner at David Zwirner and organized the exhibition Giorgio Morandi at the gallery.
Laura Mattioli is the founder and president of the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, and serves on its advisory committee. An art historian, curator, and collector, Mattioli specializes in twentieth-century art and has served since 1983 as the curator of the Gianni Mattioli Collection, considered one of the most important holdings of Italian avant-garde and modern art.