A Backward Glance: Giorgio Morandi and the Old Masters at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, April 12 – October 6, 2019

“The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents A Backward Glance: Giorgio Morandi and the Old Masters. This survey of a great 20th-century Italian painter explores the relationships between his still lifes and some of his main art historical sources. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, an extensive selection of Morandi’s exceptional paintings and works by the Old Masters who impacted his artistic practice, which spanned over four decades, from post-World War I to the early 1960s.

Morandi was an insightful student of art history who had multiple referents in mind when developing his artistic practice. The exhibition explores historical influences, all of which precede the 19th century, from three different European countries: 17th-century Spanish painting and the tradition of the bodegón; the Bolognese school of painting from the late 16th to early 18th centuries; and the 18th-century, French painter Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin. Each section examines a feature prominent in Morandi’s works: the theatricality of the Spaniards, the naturalism of the Italian Seicento, and the intimacy and geometry of Chardin.” — Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

“I felt that only an understanding of the most vital works that painting had produced through the past centuries could guide me in finding my own way.” — Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1920. Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 44.5 cm. Istituzione Bologna Musei/Museo Morandi © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1931. Oil on canvas, 54 x 64 cm. Fondation Mattioli Rossi, Switzerland © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1931. Oil on canvas, 42 x 42 cm. Fondation Mattioli Rossi, Switzerland © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1936. Oil on canvas, 33 x 37 cm. Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Mamiano di Traversetolo (Parma), Italy © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1951. Oil on canvas, 36 x 40 cm. Istituzione Bologna Musei/Museo Morandi © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1955. Oil on canvas, 35 x 40 cm. Fondation Mattioli Rossi, Switzerland © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1956. Oil on canvas, 40.7 x 36.2 cm. Augusto and Francesca Giovanardi Collection © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1956. Oil on canvas, 36 x 45.7 cm. Fondation Mattioli Rossi, Switzerland © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Still Life (Natura morta), 1949. Oil on canvas, 30 x 45 cm. Nahmad Collection © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

Giorgio Morandi. Flowers (Fiori), 1950. Oil on canvas, 35 x 26.5 cm. Fondation Mattioli Rossi, Switzerland © Giorgio Morandi, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2019

A Backward Glance: Giorgio Morandi and the Old Masters was curated by Petra Joos, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in collaboration with Giovanni Casini, and in consultation with Vivien Greene, Senior Curator of 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Images courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.