Giorgio Morandi – Late Work

The two painting by Georgio Morandi shown here are of interest because of their ‘dissolving boundaries’.

The first one was done in 1960:

Here is an excerpt showing the boundary between the  left aspect of the vessel with its background:


This second one was finished in 1964, just a few days before his death:


Here is its excerpt showing its left aspect against the background:


First a comment about the colors. The picture shown here were scanned from the book sold at the Met: Giorgio Morandi 1890 – 1964. After I bought this book, I compared the colors of the reproduction with the actual colors of the paintings standing right in front of the  paintings. I took notes of the differences that I saw.  Regrettably, the colors in all the reproductions are warmer than the beautifully cool colors of the actual paintings. The word that came to mind is that in the reproduction, the colors are ‘candified’.

For example, the yellow bottom of the 1964 flask is a cool, feeble yellow while the yellow in the reproduction is far more cheery. Likewise, the yellow background on top is a grey/cool yellow rather than the almost orange color in the reproduction. Likewise, in the  1960 still life shown here, the red of the cup is much cooler than shown in the reproduction and the grey bottom background is a cold grey rather than a warm cheery grey. Why on earth were the reproduction candified? I attempted to reduce some of  false warmth by desaturating yellow my scanned photos.

Now to the dissolving boundaries. A close look at the excerpt of the 1960 still life shows a clear boundary between the left aspect of the vessel and the background. However, standing back from the painting in the  museum and viewing it from some distance, the boundary disappeared and  aspect of the vessel melted into the background. It was an intriguing experiment, going close to the picture and standing back and observing the disappearing boundary, cutting the top vessel vertically in half.
Looking at the excerpt of the 1964 still life, one notices that here the colors between the left aspect of the vessel and the background are similar. What makes for the boundary are the different directions of the paint strokes. What an interesting method.
Why do I like in two still lifes shown here? In the 1960 one, the cool red color is fascinating. There is a great  ‘vibration’ between the white vessel in front, the oval of the  top of the red vessel and the cooler greyish vessel far back.

In the 1964 one, at death door,  GM expressed something like how very much he still wanted to realize new ideas in his paintings – a touching thought.

In the last still life, in addition to the dissolving boundary, I appreciated the colors. The feeble yellow and the lovely turquoise in the round shape in the foreground. I did not see this turquoise in any of the other paintings in the exhibition. The blue of the square vessel reminded me of the leftmost aspect of one of the still life painted in 1914.

In summary, during my first visit of the show, I embraced two of GM’s 1914 Natura Morta. During my second visit, I learned to appreciate two of his Natura Morta painted about 50 years later. I still have  no affinity for GM’s work in the intermediate period.

A touching note was that GM, at death door, expressed something like ‘I have so  many ideas that I still want to realize’.

Having formed my own opinion of the painting that I showed in my two posts on Morandi’s work, I will now read the book that I bought, learning about the opinions of others.

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