Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Italy
An Italian painter and sculptor, Modigliani was from a Jewish family. He trained at the Livorno and Florence Academies of Fine Arts before moving to France in 1906 where he joined the Colarossi Academy in Paris. He first settled in Montmartre, where he frequented the artist studios at the Bateau-Lavoir, including Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, André Derain and Diego Rivera.
Like many other artists, Modigliani left the bohemian atmosphere of Montmartre in 1909 for Montparnasse, the second centre of the Parisian artistic avant-garde, and rented a studio in the Cité Falguière. Surrounded almost exclusively by sculptors, including his great friend Brancusi, the Italian artist tried his hand at this art form during his first years at the Cité. Fascinated by African art and by the Polish sculptor Elie Nadelmann's research into spherical decomposition, Modigliani carved caryatids in limestone inspired by early carved artefacts. He later transitioned to painting and produced a series of nudes as well as numerous portraits of his artist friends.
When the First World War broke out, Modigliani, like Chaïm Soutine, was discharged due to ill health and the two artist friends lived together in the same studio at 11 Cité Falguière. Jean Cocteau describes the atmosphere in this cosmopolitan macrocosm: "Montparnasse in 1915 was a provincial place, where we lived in small groups, in communities. We seemed to be doing nothing, but we weren't hanging around, we were paying attention, some to the war, others to what would happen afterwards."
In 1917, Modigliani moved into 8 rue de la Grande Chaumière with Jeanne Hébuterne, where he died of meningitis three years later.
Marc Vaux, Portrait de l’artiste Modigliani,
photographie tirage noir et blanc, non datée.
Fonds Marc Vaux, archives Bibliothèque Kandinsky, MNAM, Paris