Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, Bt. (1889-1982)
Morris was to explore numerous contemporary artistic innovations during his travels through Italy. This work serves to highlight how he began experimenting with obscuring boundaries between representation and personal expression...
In 1922, Morris travelled through Italy and comparisons with other works painted in Assisi from this date suggest that the present view was also painted there. In addition to this painting, Morris produced a similar landscape drawing entitled Italian Landscape in 1922 (The Witt Library, Courtauld Institute of Art), which closely resembles the present view and further demonstrates his fascination with composition as a means of emphasising the patterns of the central-Italian landscape. The flattening of the visual plane and an abstraction of perspective further reinforces Morris’s engagement with contemporary modernist tendencies.
In November 1922, works by Morris and Lett were included in a group exhibition at the Casa d’Arte Bragaglia in Rome, Italy, a notable gallery directed by a pioneer of Italian futurist photography and cinema, Anton Giulio Bragaglia (1890–1960). It is certainly possible that the present work was included in this exhibition, after which Bragaglia either purchased the painting for his own collection or accepted it from Morris in lieu of expenses. Significant modernist artists such as Giacomo Balla (1871–1958), Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) and Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) were regular exhibitors at the gallery, and Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978), whom Morris greatly admired, had his first one-man exhibition there in 1919.
Morris was to explore numerous contemporary artistic innovations during his travels through Italy. This work serves to highlight how he began experimenting with obscuring boundaries between representation and personal expression. There is a harmonious relationship between what is observed and what it imposed upon the landscape. Where Morris paints with quick precision the various flora of the region, in equal measure he distorts the positioning of the houses to appear closer in proximity, thereby further exaggerating the rhythmic gradient of the hillside.