Giorgio Morandi (b. 1890, Bologna, Italy; d. 1964, Bologna, Italy) has come to be recognized as a truly unique and influential force within the development of modern art. Morandi was known for having a quiet and contemplative demeanor, and a reclusive nature that can perhaps be interpreted through both his subtle painting techniques and the fact that he spent the majority of his life in the same city in which he was born. Early in his life, his father had hopes that his son would follow him into the export business, but despite his father's wishes, Morandi enrolled at the Bologna Academy of Fine Arts in 1907. While attending the Academy, he was exposed to contemporary movements such as Futurism and Cubism—both influences are visible in his early work—as well as Old Master painting.


After a brief stint in the Italian army during World War I, he continued to paint, albeit at a slower rate, in his home studio. As his style matured, he adopted a distinctly modernist approach to his work, representing everyday, banal objects and landscapes done in a subtle, tonal palette. He also focused largely on brushwork and understated compositional arrangement. In the last decades of his career he garnered praise and recognition at several international exhibitions, including the 1948 Venice Biennale, 1957 São Paulo Biennale (winning the Grand Prize for painting), and Documenta 2 in 1959. He was also included in the seminal Twentieth-Century Italian Art exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1949.


After his death in 1964 from lung cancer, Morandi’s work continued to have a distinct impact on subsequent generations of artists and movements, and his work has come to be included in many premier art collections. Additionally, Morandi made headlines in 2009 when President Barack Obama chose two small oil paintings by the artist to be hung in the White House, one of two artists displayed who was not American.