Tete by Amodeo Modigliani (1912)

A few years ago the best museum in my city had an exhibit on Modigliani. The paintings and sculptures were stunning.

I admit: I am a fan (seen my avatar?). The paintings have an amazing use of color and style. One can easily see how Modigliani was influenced by other artists of his period (Picasso & Lautrec, f’r instance) but also by Asian and African art. This sculpture shows both.

By the way, it also sold for 43+ million euros. Here is a Christie’s gallery talk about it. Lovely!

Modigliani is better known for his paintings (there are only 27 sculptures but lots more paintings), both of nude women and key figures in the world of art and letters in the 1903-1920, when the artist killed himself. Sadly, during the final ears of his life he not only produced most of his best work–and a lot of it!–but suffered from tubercular meningitis made worse by his alcoholism (primarily, absinth) and use of drugs (hashish). He was also involved with several women serially, including his final lover, Jeanne Hebuterne, who was nine months pregnant with their second child when the artist died. She threw herself out of a window and killed herself and the unborn child five days after his death. The artist died penniless, but now his work is (obviously) valued.

The work is quite sensual, and meant to be seen from all sides. In 1914 Modigliani abandoned sculpture to concentrate on painting. These sculptures, however, were clearly influential on his two-dimensional works.


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