Thursday, October 3, 2019

Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920)

Modigliani was born in Livorno, Italy, where he grew up in a Jewish ghetto. His father, Flaminio, came from a line of successful businessmen who suffered a reversal of fortune and declared bankruptcy shortly before Amedeo’s birth. His mother, Eugenia Garsin, descended from an intellectual Jewish family, and she passed her love of culture and learning to her son.

From his early teens, Modigliani resolved to become an artist. In 1898, he began to study with local plein-air painter Guglielmo Micheli, who stressed working directly from nature. Modigliani also was exposed to a wide variety of Italian art over the course of travels through his home country, where he received formal training in Florence and in Venice.

While studying in Venice in 1903, Modigliani met a Chilean artist, Manuel Ortiz de Zárate, who told him tales of life in Paris and its bohemian center, Montmartre. In 1906 he moved to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso and other leading artists of his era. In Paris, he was influenced by fauvism, the avant-garde art movement promoting a strong, emotional, and nonrealistic use of color, and by his friend the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, known for his artistic search of pure form.

Modigliani was also influenced by African carvings and masks, particularly in his early work, which was mostly sculpture. In 1908 he first exhibited his works in Paris at Salon des Independants. In 1909 he established himself near the workshop operated by Brancusi, whose sculpture interested him as much as the lines synthesis found in African images. In 1914, the Polish poet Zborowsky became his marchand and an important influence of his work. He died January 25, 1920.
Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920)

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