Monday, August 6, 2018

Giorgio Morandi: 1890-1964: Nothing Is More Abstract Than Reality Hardcover – September 30, 2008 by Janet Abramowicz (Author), Flavio Fergonzi (Author), Maria Mimita Lamberti (Author), Neville Rowley (Author), Lorenza Selleri (Author), Maria Cristina Bandera (Editor), Renato Miracco (Editor), Giorgio Morandi (Artist) (Skira) (IBRArtBooks)

This is the catalogue for the current Morandi exhibition at the Met in NYC. It basically follows a strict chronology after two introductory essays, one attempting a reassessment of the artist's oeuvre in the light of the many studies that have been carried out in recent years and of his influence on contemporary art (no longer limited to abstraction)and the other dwelling on the visual sources that inspired the painter (Cézanne obviously, but also the Douanier Rousseau, Corot, Chardin to name but a few). These two essays are particularly interesting in that they provide in-depth information on the technique and working process of the artist and also on the somewhat paradoxical recognition of Morandi as a great master in the 1950's, at a time when abstraction was the dominant trend.

The book is then divided into five distinct periods, first displaying wonderful commented illustrations of the works pertaining to each period, and then followed by various essays (on the debatable influence of Piero della Francesca, on Morandi's etchings, on the critical reception and the market in Europe and the Americas, on debunking the myth of a reclused closed-off artist, on Morandi's famous saying that "nothing is more abstract than reality"). The book ends with a short text by Umberto Eco describing his discovery of Morandi's art, followed by transcripts of interviews of the artist.

This is probably the best artbook I have ordered this year (and I have ordered many!). The text is riveting, the illustrations (more than a hundred still-lifes and a dozen landscapes, all in full color) could not be better and some close-ups even give you the impression of holding the actual painting in your own hands (when I go through my library of some 800 artbooks, I have to disagree with the other reviewer of this book: the illustrations are outstanding).

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