Modigliani was a remarkable artist who influenced the style of many artists, including the style of Pablo Picasso.
The Artist’s Beginnings
Amedeo Modigliani was born on July 12, 1884, in Livorno, in the region of Tuscany, Italy, into a family of Jewish origin. His father was Flaminio Modigliani, a merchant from Rome, and his mother, Eugenia Garsin. Unfortunately, shortly after the birth, his father’s company went bankrupt.
In 1895, at the age of eleven, Modigliani became seriously ill, and in 1898 he contracted typhus. During this time, he discovered his passion for painting, and in 1898, Modigliani took classes at the studio of the painter Guglielmo Micheli in Livorno. In 1902, he studied at the “Scuola libera di Nudo” in Florence, under the guidance of master Giovanni Fattori.
Moving to Paris
In 1903, Modigliani attended the “Institute of Fine Arts” in Venice, and in 1906, he settled in Paris.
Modigliani will get in touch with artists such as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, or Diego Rivera, as well as writers André Salmon, Guillaume Apollinaire. He will admire Picasso but is not attracted to abstract compositions, but rather shows a special interest in the works of Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Like many young artists of the time, Amedeo Modigliani was overwhelmed by the commemorative exhibition of Cézanne’s work, held in Paris in 1907. In March 1908, Modigliani exhibited six paintings at the Salon of Independent Artists in Paris. He continues to paint, but in the absence of recognition of his creations, he will become passionate about sculpture, but many of his sculptures remained unfinished.
In April 1917, Modigliani attended a carnival party, where he met Jeanne Hébuterne, a student at the “Académie Colarossi” who was then only nineteen years old. The two fall in love irretrievably.
Jeanne had a lot to bear to be with Modigliani because of her conservative family.
However, Amedeo and Jeanne soon move in, get married, and Leopold Zborowski helps the artist organize his first solo exhibition at the “Berthe Weill” gallery, where he will exhibit 32 paintings.
An exhibition will be opened on December 3, 1917, not before the police detain some nudes, which have been classified by the authorities as “immoral”. However, Modigliani will not be able to sell anything.
On the night of January 24, 1920, due to his poor health condition, a neighbor finds Modigliani in bed, delirious with fever, almost unconscious. Next to him was Jeanne with her arms wrapped around him, trying to save him from death. Unfortunately, the artist died then at the age of thirty-six.
Less than two days after the artist’s death, his wife, Jeanne, who was only 22 years old and nine months pregnant with her second child, jumped out of the fifth-floor window. Both she and her unborn child have died.
Although Jeanne had announced that she wanted to be buried with Modigliani, her family, ignored her wishes and buried her in the Bagneaux cemetery outside Paris, and Amedeo Modigliani was buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Ten years later, Jeanne was moved to the Père-Lachaise cemetery.
Modigliani’s art will influence Pablo Picasso and Bernard Buffet, whose works will borrow from the style of the Italian artist.
Some of Modigliani’s paintings are: Portrait of Beatrice Hastings, Madame Pompadour, Jeanne Hébuterne in Red Shawl, Sleeping Nude with Arms Open (Red Nude).
In 2004, the film “Modigliani” was released – inspired by the artist’s existence – filmed entirely in Romania.