Occupation: Painter, Sculptor
Amedeo Modigliani's Famous Works
“Portrait of Maude Abrantes,” 1907
“The Jewess,” 1908
“Portrait of Pablo Picasso,” 1915
“Bride and Groom,” 1915
“Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz,” 1916
“Nude Sitting on a Divan,” 1917
“Standing Blonde Nude with Dropped Chemise,” 1917
“Portrait of a Young Woman,” 1918
“Dedie Hayden,” 1918
“Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne,” 1918
Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor
, best known for his portraits and nudes executed in a distinctly modern style characterized by bold lines, asymmetrical composition, and elongated figures. The influence of the Italian Renaissance movement is evident in his work.
Amedeo Modigliani's Early Life and Education
Amedeo Modigliani was born into a Jewish household in Livorno in summer of 1884, the youngest child of Eugénie Garsin and Flaminio Modigliani. As a child, he was often unwell, resulting in an unconventional education: he was taught at home by his mother until the age of 10, though his interest in painting was evident from infancy. While suffering from a bout of typhoid in early adolescence, he insisted on a visit to Florence to see the work of the Renaissance masters. His mother relented, traveling with the boy through all of the Italian capitals including Venice, Naples, Capri, Rome and Amalfi.
Aware that her son was gifted and that he may have the potential to become an artist, Eugénie apprenticed him to the best art teacher in Livorno, Guglielmo Micheli, in 1898. Micheli was a student of Giovanni Fattori, one of the founders of the Macchiaioli, an Italian movement parallel to the French Impressionism
In 1900, Modigliani was forced to cease his studies with Micheli due to a bout of tuberculosis. In 1902, he enrolled briefly at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence before moving to Venice to study at the Instituto di Belle Arti the following year. At this time, Amedeo Modigliani was increasingly influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche, as revealed in his letters, as well as the writings of Baudelaire, Carducci and Comte de Lautreamont, whose poetry he knew by heart.
Amedeo Modigliani's years in Paris
Modigliani moved to Paris
, the center of the art world and home to the avant-garde, in 1906, where he lived in the artist commune of Montmartre. In Paris, Modigliani developed an interest in the post-Impressionist work of Cezanne. At the same time, he became acquainted with contemporary artists and writers like Pablo Picasso and Max Jacob. In 1907, he met Paul Alexandre, a physician and the first person to buy his work. He altered his public image from wealthy bourgeoisie into a bohemian artist and was known as a dark, handsome, brooding sort who cut a fine figure in his brown corduroy coat and a bright scarf.
During his time in Paris, Amedeo Modigliani painted portraits
of many of his friends and contemporaries including Diego Rivera and Juan Gris. He began studying African sculpture after meeting the Romanian sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, in 1909. This led to an exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in 1912 where he showed eight stone heads with elongated and simplified forms, influenced by his recent research. This ‘primitive’ manner became part of Modigliani’s personal idiom, illustrated in the sharp lines and elongated forms depicted in his work. His fascination for African masks remains apparent in the treatment of his subjects: faces with flat features, cat-like eyes and long necks.
A prolific artist, Amedeo Modigliani produced over 420 paintings, 31 sculptures and many drawings in the first 15 years of the 20th century. His series of nudes follow in the traditional vein of Renaissance Venuses but encompass more of an erotic charg, confronting the viewer with raw female sexuality. Art lovers can buy Amedeo Modigliani's artworks online
Amedeo Modigliani's Premature Death
Modigliani suffered from ill-health throughout his life; his problems were exacerbated by a serious addiction to drugs and alcohol. Marked by sustained drug abuse, brawling, unpredictable behavior and ill-fated affairs, his private life soon eclipsed his art. He died impoverished at the age of 35 from tubercular meningitis in addition to substance misuse, with only one solo show to his name.
Artwork of Amedeo Modigliani is now showcased in some of the biggest museum collections internationally and commands high prices at auctions. In 2010, one of his nude paintings from 1917 was sold for approximately $69 million in New York.
Amedeo Modigliani's Major Exhibitions
1912 - Salon d’Automne, Paris
1914 - Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
1917 - Berthe Weill Gallery, Paris
1922 - Venice Biennale, Venice
1951 - Museum of Modern Art, New York
2004 - The Jewish Museum, New York
Amedeo Modigliani's Museums/Collections
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Museu de Arte de Sao Paolo
Art Institute of Chicago
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires
Tate Gallery, London
“Modigliani” by Doris Krystof
“Modigliani: A Biography” by Pierre Sichel
“The Uncannily Strange and Brief Life of Amedeo Modigliani” by Velibor Colic and Celia Hawkesworth
“Modigliani,” by Meryle Secrest