Morandi, StillLife (detail), 1956

Morandi's Legacy: Influences on British Art

12 January - 25 March 2006

This exhibition explores Giorgio Morandi’s influence on British artists, past and present, by juxtaposing drawings, paintings and etchings by Morandi alongside works by 20th century and contemporary British artists, including David Hockney, Tony Cragg, Rachel Whiteread, Michael Craig-Martin, Patrick Caulfield, Paul Winstanley, Paul Coldwell, Christopher Le Brun, Victor Willing, Ben Nicholson, William Scott and Euan Uglow. Many of these artists have pointed to Morandi as being an influence, but for some the relationship with their work is tangential. The aim of the exhibition is not to illustrate direct influences or particular references to Morandi in the selected works, but rather to set up ‘conversations’ between his work and that of contemporary British artists, addressing themes that have become central within contemporary art practice, including negative space, the recording of the passing of time, and art as process.

The exhibition will include important drawings, paintings and etchings by Morandi on loan from public and private collections in Britain and Europe, including several works from Italian collections including Museo Morandi in Bologna and the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo. Other major loans include works from the British Museum, the Arts Council Collection, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) is one of the most admired Italian painters of the twentieth century, known for his contemplative still life paintings of familiar objects: vases, bottles and boxes, painted in subtle combinations of colour using a narrow range of tones. Morandi never visited Britain during his lifetime, and yet the popularity of his work has grown steadily here since the 1950s. His intimate still life paintings were first seen in this country in the 1950 Arts Council exhibition of Modern Italian Art at the Tate, and since then he has been the subject of many solo and themed shows in major British galleries.

The exhibition has been curated by the artist Professor Paul Coldwell, Postgraduate Programme Director at Camberwell College of Arts, and organised by the Estorick Collection in collaboration with Abbot Hall Art Gallery. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, published by Philip Wilson, which includes an essay by Paul Coldwell and interviews with some of the aforementioned artists, discussing their interpretations of Morandi’s work. The exhibition will travel to The Estorick Collection between 5 April and 18 June 2006.

Paul Coldwell would like to acknowledge the support of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the form of a small grant in the creative and performing arts.

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  • Morandi, StillLife (detail), 1956


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