Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings

Text by Laura Mattioli. Contributions by John Baldessari, Lawrence Carroll, Vija Celmins, Mark Greenwold, Liu Ye, Wayne Thiebaud, Alexi Worth, and Zeng Fanzhi. Foreword by David Leiber

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.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: Giorgio Morandi

Contributors: John Baldessari, Lawrence Carroll, Vija Celmins, Mark Greenwold, David Leiber, Liu Ye, Laura Mattioli, Wayne Thiebaud, Alexi Worth, Zeng Fanzhi

Designer: Michael Dyer, Remake

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona, Italy

Publication Date: 2017

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 x 10 1/2 in (22.9 x 26.7 cm)

Pages: 96

Reproductions: 33 color, 2 b&w

ISBN: 9781941701560

Retail: $45 | £35 | €48

Status: Available

Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi was born in 1890 in Bologna, Italy, where he lived until his death in 1964. Over the course of his five-decade career, Morandi was most prolific during the postwar years from the late 1940s until the 1960s, when he executed more than half of his entire output of paintings. Remaining dedicated to the repertoire of subjects that had occupied him since the early 1910s, including tabletop still lifes of bottles, boxes, vases, and flowers, as well as occasional landscapes, his variations on a given compositional motif became more persistent, nuanced, and abstract in the later part of his life. Through subtle shifts in color, tone, scale, composition, and mark-making, Morandi was able to convey the ever-changing perceptual understanding and memory of the objects and spaces one encounters. In 1993, the Museo Morandi was established in Bologna, Italy, and is currently located in the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.

All Giorgio Morandi books

David Leiber

David Leiber, a partner at David Zwirner in New York, works closely with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Estate of Diane Arbus, and major collectors of work by Giorgio Morandi, as well as the contemporary artist Liu Ye. In addition to curating Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings in 2015 and Albers and Morandi: Never Finished in 2021, he has overseen numerous exhibitions at the gallery, including Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art (2018), Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms (2022), Cataclysm: The 1972 Diane Arbus Retrospective Revisited (2022), and Joan Mitchell: Paintings, 1979–1985 (2022). In 2023, David curated the gallery’s Roma/New York, 1953–1964 exhibition, exploring the significant intellectual and artistic cross-pollination between artists in the centers of Italian and American art in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Laura Mattioli

Laura Mattioli is an art historian, writer, and founder of the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York. 

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