Artist biography

Amedeo Modigliani 1884-1920

Italian painter of portraits and nudes, draughtsman and sculptor. Born in Leghorn of Jewish parents. Began to study art in 1898 with the landscape painter Micheli at Leghorn. As a youth suffered two severe illnesses, with onset in 1901 of tuberculosis. Visited Naples, Capri, Rome, Florence and Venice to recuperate. Attended life classes at Florence Academy under Fattori 1902, and at the Institute of Fine Arts, Venice, 1903. His early work, of which very little survives, was in the tradition of the Macchiaioli. Moved in 1906 to Paris, where he was influenced by Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, the Fauves, then by Cézanne. Took to excessive drinking and drugs, and was frequently in poverty. Met Brancusi in 1909 and worked c.1910-14 mainly as a sculptor, making stone carvings of elongated heads. Substantial output of paintings from 1914-15, gradually developing a rhythmical linear stylisation. Friendship with Soutine, Kisling, Lipchitz, Utrillo. Had great difficulty selling his works at fair prices, though helped by Zborowski and Paul Guillaume. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Berthe Weill, Paris, 1917. Worked March or April 1918 to May 1919 in the South of France, at Nice and Cagnes. Died in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.526