Amedeo Modigliani Biography

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born on 12th July 1884, in Livorno, Tuscany, Italy, to Flaminio Modigliani and Eugenie Garsin. His father belonged to a family of entrepreneurs while her mother came from an intellectual, scholarly family. Amedeo suffered from illnesses such as pleurisy and tuberculosis during his childhood and as a result he was tutored at home by his mother rather than at school. Modigliani showed so much rare artistic talent as a painter that his mother sent him to Florence in 1898 to train under the guidance of Guglielmo Micheli at his art school where he studied for two years. In 1902 Modigliani then went on to enrol at the ‘Free School of Nude Studies’ in Florence. After spending a year there, he went to Venice, and lived there for a few years before moving to Paris in 1907. In the Montmartre district of Paris, he lived a very bohemian life, meeting avant-garde young artists at the Bateau-Lavoir, an old building where many of them had their studios. He made many artist friends including Pablo Picasso and poet Max Jacob, but his closest were Chaim Soutine and Jules Pascin, also he worked with the painter Moise Kisling. Modigliani revelled in this scene but at great cost to his health due to alcohol, drugs, and a very permissive lifestyle. Modigliani exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants of 1908, and his first sculptures were produced a year later. In 1909 he went back to Livorno, before returning to Paris in 1910, where he lived for the rest of his life. He could be found regularly at the Cafédela Rotonde or at the Dôme. Although he came from a rich bourgeois background, he had a genuine feeling for social responsibility. Modigliani was predominantly a painter of nudes and portraits, first working under the influence of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whom he admired and in whose favorite places he was frequently seen at night. Modigliani's finest works are generally accepted as being created between 1915 and 1919, and during this period (1918) he took part in a group show at the Berthe Weill Gallery, where his nudes provoked such scandal that the police closed the show. Although helped by various benefactors and to some extent by his family, Modigliani was often near starvation, owing to the excesses of his lifestyle. Modigliani's health was now deteriorating more and more, resulting in him having to spend the winter of 1918-1919 in Cannes. He returned to Paris in the spring of 1919 for the birth of a daughter born to his young mistress and muse Jeanne Hébuterne. Tragically, the following winter he contracted tuberculosis and was taken to a hospital, where he died in a charity ward on 24th January 1920.

Artist's Statement

"When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes"