new-york

Giorgio Morandi

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

The Giorgio Morandi retrospective comes billed as a first—as the initial survey in the United States of one who himself never traveled far, leaving his native Italy only once to cross the border into Switzerland. Going to three museums, it was organized with enormous efforts in coordination and financing, including special aid by five Italian banks. But in an era of blockbusters, this is an anomaly—a show of 123 works by a provincial “minor master” residing far outside the mainstream and beyond the movements of vanguard art; by a devotee of boxes, bottles, and beakers painted in the kind of modest intimisme that belongs more to the turn of the century (if not to the 18th century) than to our own tumultuous times. It’s no wonder, looking at all those quiet compositions with their tawny and opalescent hues, that people speak of Morandi’s “reticence,” “restraint,” and, above all, moralistic

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