Press Release

Giorgio Morandi

Tate Modern  Level 4
22 May – 12 August 2001

Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964) is one of the most admired painters of the twentieth century. He is known primarily for his subtle and contemplative paintings, largely of still lifes, which he produced with determined consistency throughout his career. Morandi has long been celebrated for the simplicity and quietude of his work. However, beneath the obsessive exploration of a single subject is a complexity and richness of meaning. This exhibition offers an occasion to reassess his reputation and consider his continuing signifcance for contemporary art.

Giorgio Morandi brings together over forty paintings and a small group of works on paper. Although these span the artist’s career from his earliest metaphysical period in 1919 to his last works, made in the 1960s, the selection concentrates primarily on exploring themes within the works made after the Second World War. This period was his most productive and one in which his international reputation was established.

The exhibition provides the opportunity for an investigation of Morandi’s painting in the light of recent research and artistic practice. It charts several themes, each offering a way to interpret Morandi’s work. They include: Architectonics, suggesting the language of architecture in Morandi’s use of form, space and interval; Series, looking at the subtle variations in successive paintings of the same group of objects and Morandi’s search for a perfect order; Scale, showing the shifts in scale of objects depicted in related works and the artist’s changes in distance and angle of view; and Edge, dealing with Morandi’s exploration of compositional space and the relationship between solid and void.

These displays will be preceded by an introduction, highlighting key works from Morandi’s career and presenting the artist and major themes of the exhibition. Giorgio Morandi will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with contributions from the curators of the exhibition, Donna De Salvo, Senior Curator at Tate Modern, and Matthew Gale, Curator, Collections Division, Tate. The exhibition will also be shown at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris from 4 October 2001 to 6 January 2002.

Giorgio Morandi was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1890. From 1907–13 he studied at the Accademia in Bologna, and became well-known for his delicate etchings (the subject of a Tate exhibition in 1991). In 1930 he was appointed as Professor of Etching at the Accademia. In 1948 he won the prize for painting at the Venice Biennale. His works have been the subject of numerous exhibitions around the world and are represented in many public and private collections.