Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry
16 January – 28 April 2013
Some 80 rarely seen watercolours, drawings and etchings have been gathered together for this overview of Morandi's subtle and elusive art – one of the largest surveys of his graphic art staged outside Italy.
Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964) may be a master of understatement, but he is one of the stars of the Estorick Collection. He is best known for his quietly poetic still lifes, small in scale and unassuming, which represent everyday objects such as jugs, bottles and drinking vessels. There are plenty of them here, as well as landscapes and flowers.
Monochrome prints and drawings are on show with the watercolours, so viewers have a chance to compare the way that Morandi worked in the different media, but simplicity and minimalism always prevail, creating a strange beauty that encourages a fresh look at what is familiar. In the final room is a series of fascinating doctored photographs of Comune di Grizzana Morandi, where the artist lived.
The late watercolours at the end of the show are major attractions. In Still Life (1960) – a late, very minimal still life verging on abstraction – objects are merely hinted at with delicate dabs of watercolour.