The collection explores the creative and tragically short life of Amedeo Modigliani, following his journey to discover his potential as both an artist and sculptor. Nine long elongated Egyptian and African style abstract figurative heads, with swan like necks and almond shaped eyes are presented to you showcasing how simple yet magnificent his sculptures are. Unfortunately his journey as a sculptor came to an in 1914 due to the intense physical labour required to carve the stone and tuberculosis.
The Modern Nudes pieced together by soft sensual shapes with the natural blends for the skin, the colours he uses are neutral and warm, making them both catching and pleasing on the eye. The models are laid in reclining positions, in a seductive manner captivating onlookers. The positioning and visibility of the bodies pubic hair is deliberate as in that period, painting such personal details of the female anatomy would have been seen as offensive.
Modigliani’s first and only exhibition at Berthe Weill was closed down as soon as it opened due to the sight of pubic hair on one of his models. It caused quite a commotion and was found to be too indecent for public viewing, allegedly the local police commissioner witnessed a group of people gathered outside a shop and when he viewed the painting ordered it to be removed. You could call this positive promotion as His work became better know and sales increased after the nude in the window incident.
There is a section of enchanting paintings of Jeanne Hebuteme who he met in 1917, she herself was an artist and the mother of his first child. Her family were not happy with her relationship with the artist, she later wrote a biography ‘Man & Myth”. There are several paintings of her depicting different stages of their relationship, he produced twenty five paintings which represented the development of his technique, also his love and devotion to the woman who had looked after and nursed the painter all though his ill health, alcohol and drug addiction. A love story that was a loving and tragic union, as two days after Modiglini died Jeanne took her own life while being nine months pregnant. Modigliani died 24th January 1920 aged thirty five due to addiction and poor health.
Tate Modern, Bank Side, London, SE1 9TG
Until 2nd April 2018