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Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings

Contributions by David Lieber

One of the most beloved painters of the twentieth century, Giorgio Morandi created works that continue to exert their mysterious power on viewers worldwide. 

This publication focuses on the period from 1948 to 1964, during which Morandi developed and refined his investigations of serial, reductive, and permutational forms and compositions, a body of work that has had a profound influence on twentieth-century art and painting. Included here are five of the ten iconic “yellow cloth” paintings from 1952, a series featured prominently in the historic 1998 exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and numerous late paintings by the Italian master. Lavishly reproduced, these immersive plates draw attention to the idiosyncratic perspectival and color-driven decisions that give the work its abstract power. The catalogue is published on the occasion of the 2015 exhibition of Morandi’s paintings from this period at David Zwirner, New York—which, according to The New York Times, represent “lucid perfection, at once cerebral and impassioned.” It marked the first major presentation of the artist’s late work in America since the acclaimed 2008 retrospective at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In addition to an essay by Laura Mattioli and a foreword by David Leiber, who organized the exhibition, this catalogue includes a fantastic array of contributions by contemporary artists: John Baldessari, Lawrence Carroll, Vija Celmins, Mark Greenwold, Liu Ye, Wayne Thiebaud, Alexi Worth, and Zeng Fanzhi. They offer their personal responses to Morandi’s work and to the Zwirner exhibition in particular. Working in different media across many disciplines, this diverse list of contributors is a testament to the reach of Morandi’s paintings and their influence on contemporary art.

“It is easy to remember having been moved, profoundly, by a Morandi still-life, but never quite how. You have to see one again to reenter the mystery...Beauty is [Morandi’s] recurrent consolation and our regular bliss.”

– Staff, The New Yorker

“The recent apotheosis of Giorgio Morandi is a little more surprising… To this growing corpus, we can now add the perspectives of other contemporary artists collected in David Zwirner Books’s Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings.

– David Carrier, The Brooklyn Rail

“Like the softly repeated murmur of a prayer, there’s something both comforting and conservative in Giorgio Morandi’s career-long affinity for painting small still lifes of bottles, vases and other objects arranged in his studio. The Italian modernist has long been considered an ‘artist’s artist,” and his unassuming canvases have developed something of a cult following.”

– Julian Kreimer, Art in America

“Morandi’s work becomes an exercise in care, restraint, and skill… The exhibition at David Zwirner shows Morandi at his most mature."

– Sarah E. Fensom, Art & Antiques

“Rigorous explorations of geometry and light”

– Dorothy Spears, The New York Times

“In his still lifes, the sublime”

– Karen Wilkin, Wall Street Journal