Lot 8
  • 8

Giorgio Morandi

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • signed
  • Oil on canvas
  • 35 by 35cm.; 13 3/4 by 13 3/4 in.


Vincenzo Ghirlandi, Faenza
Acquired by the present owner in 2001


Zagreb, Galerija Moderne Umjetnosti, Bolonjso Slikarstvo XX Vijeka (20th Century Painting from Bologna), 1968, no. 70, illustrated in the catalogue


Lamberto Vitali, Morandi. Catalogo generale, Volume secondo 1948-1964, Milan, 1977, no. 1291, illustrated n.p.

Catalogue Note

From a formalist perspective, the experience of a Morandi landscape, according to Werner Haftmann, is not a psychological one, but rather an experience of its own construction, a tranquil contemplation of essential structure (Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1990, Milan, 1990, p. 34). Echoing an almost Cézannian interpretation of pictorial space and sight as a tactile experience, Morandi aptly seizes the intensity and vibrancy of a landscape devoid of human figures. Throughout Morandi’s career, landscape has always been one of his favoured subject matters, extensively explored during his summer months spent at Grizzana, a small village in the Apennines, and alternated with the landscapes executed in his studio in Via Fondazza in Bologna. It was through this traditional genre that the artist exquisitely captured and developed the simplicity of pictorial means and the purity of form that characterised his mature œuvre.

The delicate and earthy tones of the present Paesaggio from 1962, combined with circular and pulsating brushstrokes, lend an aura of dazzling movement amidst the stillness of the depicted scene. Morandi avoids defining the contours of the painted elements, merging instead different bands and areas of colour from the contours of the canvas, immediately leading the viewer to the centre of his composition. The mottled green foliage surrounding the distant house is contrasted to its pure ivory tones, which are in turn juxtaposed with interruptions of light blue to suggest the sky. The terracotta roof is contrasted in turn to the dark diagonal bands leading the viewer’s eye down to the steps reaching the lower foreground of the picture.  Marilena Pasquali’s observation could appropriately apply to this work: 'all that is required to define a house, one that has been observed various times, is simply the encounter of two lines serving to suggest a roof; the shadow of the landscape on a wall […] creating a new dimension according to the principle of spatial interstice. It is difficult to determine whether we are looking at a “landscape” or whether the artist has depicted a “still life”. For Morandi, speaking of such difference in genres is inconceivable, his interest lies is the spatial and dynamic interaction of forms and shapes, the very ones which make them distinguishable from the pictorial mass' (Marilena Pasquali, Riflessioni sull’opera, Piacenza, 1991, p. 62, translated from the Italian).

Departing from a formal interpretation, Pasquali describes a very private encounter with the work of art: 'perhaps what remains of the natural element in Morandi’s late Paesaggi, is that perception of an untouched atmosphere, an exhilarating gush of air which takes over the fullness of the landscape, leaving the impression of a shadow, a distant memory of a treasured world, now completely interiorised' (ibid., p. 62). Such experience of Morandi’s landscapes, where light and shadow are the foremost actors, is a meditative contemplation of nature and objects, a vision transcending the limits of reality.