Amedeo Modigliani

Madame Zborowska


On loan

Nakanoshima Museum of Art (Osaka, Japan): Modigliani and His Time: Paris, Cosmopolis and Modern Art

Amedeo Modigliani 1884–1920
Original title
La Zborowska en buste
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 645 × 460 mm
frame: 829 × 643 × 70 mm
Bequeathed by Mrs A.F. Kessler 1983

Display caption

An extreme elongation of the female form is seen in Modigliani`s portrait of Hanka Zborowska,a friend and the wife of his dealer. The style embodies his own vision of beauty, but it derives from his interest in a wide variety of arts then considered to be `primitive`, including African carvings and Cambodian sculptures, as well as the thirteenth-century paintings and sculpture of his native Italy.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T03569 Madame Zborowska 1918

Oil on canvas 25 3/8 × 18 1/8 (645 × 460)
Inscribed ‘modigliani’ b.r.
Bequeathed by Mrs A.F. Kessler 1983
Prov: L. Zborowski, Paris; J. Netter, Paris; Lepoutre, Paris; Reid and Lefevre, London; Mrs Kessler
Exh: Paintings by Modigliani, Lefevre Gallery, March 1929 (15); French Paintings from the Kessler Collection, York Art Gallery, May 1948 (8); The Kessler Collection, Wildenstein Gallery, October–November 1948 (20); The Kessler Bequest, Tate Gallery, February–April 1984 (works not numbered, repr.)
Lit: Arthur Pfannstiel, Modigliani, Paris, 1929, p.42; Arthur Pfannstiel, Modigliani et son Oeuvre, Paris, 1956, no. 260, p.140; J. Lanthemann, Modigliani 1884–1920: Catalogue Raisonné, Barcelona, 1970, no.334, p.130, repr. p.248 as ‘La Zborowska en Buste’ 1918

Mme Zborowska was the common-law wife of the Polish poet and dealer Leopold Zborowski, who became Modigliani's agent from the summer of 1916 onwards. Although usually known as Zborowska, her original name was Hanka Sierspowska, and she came of an aristocratic Polish family. Both she and her husband posed for Modigliani many times. According to Pfannstiel, this portrait was painted in 1918 at Nice, where Modigliani spent much of his time from about July 1918 until May 1919.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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