London’s Estorick Collection of Italian Modern Art is mounting an exhibition of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi’s work to inaugurate the gallery’s 15th anniversary.
Called, ‘Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry’, the show features some 80 etchings and watercolours by the artist. Drawing on a number of private collections, and organised in collaboration with Bologna’s Galleria d’Arte Maggiore, the exhibition focuses on Morandi’s works on paper. The career-spanning selection of works are complemented by pieces from the Estorick Collection of Italian Modern Art, making it one of the most comprehensive overviews of his graphic art ever mounted outside Italy.
Although Morandi was a self-taught printmaker, he mastered etching technique quickly. His still lifes, landscapes and flower studies reveal his stylistic versatility as well as a passion for experimentation. The exhibition also includes a number of Morandi’s watercolours that are rarely seen in the United Kingdom. They exemplify the artist’s ability to distil the essence of a complex scene or composition into an arrangement of near-abstract forms.
The Estorick Collection of Italian Modern Art was started by American sociologist, writer and art dealer, Eric Estorick, who began to collect works of art when he went to live in England after World War II. In 1968, Italy conferred the title of ‘Cavaliere’ (Knight) on Estorick, followed in 1970 by the higher honour of ‘Commendatore’ (Commander) for his services in promoting Italian art. In 1979, the Italian government showed interest in purchasing his collection but the family refused this offer, along with others from museums in the United States and Israel. Six months before he died, Estorick set up the Eric and Salome Estorick Foundation to which he donated all his Italian works. A Georgian house at 39A Canonbury Square, Islington was purchased in 1994 and refurbished with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to house the collection together with an art library, café and shop.
‘Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry’ runs until 7 April. Admission is £5.00. The Estorick Collection of Italian Modern Art is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm and from midday to 5pm on Sundays. The gallery will be open until 9pm on the first Thursday of each month during ‘Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry’.