Amedeo Modigliani, the “Swan of Livorno”

Grande nudo disteso, 1917, olio su tela, cm. 73 cm × 116. Museum of Modern Art, New York

Palzzo Blu, Pisa

Ending February 15

[box type=”shadow” ]”His painting always reveals a sense of intimacy, a mirror reflecting his models, pervaded by seduction. Few models posed for more than one portrait. Jeanne was the love of his life: 25 portraits demonstrate his devoted passion for her. She has the perfect silhouette for Modigliani’s art: long neck, thin and slender shape, melancholy look..” Jean Michel Bouhours, curator for the Pompidou Museum. [/box]

The beautiful and damned “swan of Livorno”, as he was called, was found collapsed in a dawn light on a street by Montmartre, drunk on wine. Yes, he was him, Amedeo Modigliani. For sure he wouldn’t stop drinking, as for sure he wouldn’t ever stop painting, thanks to his force and fervour. After this episode, he started being romanticized as Modì, the artist with a licentious way of life, perfect incarnation of the romantic hero who dissipates everything. His portraits full of emotions became famous and his sensual women with the too long neck became popular, thin figures full of beauty who doesn’t show a nude model but the deep and real soul.

The exhibition is named “Amedeo Modigliani et sesamis” and tells a story with over than 100 works.

Really impressive are the sincere and delicious Tuscany street and Portrait of Aristide Sommati.Fascinating is also Woman at a Seance (1905) , Portait of Maurice Drouard and Beggar Woman.

Looking at Hermaphrodite (pencil on paper, 1922), we can notice the likenesses of other artists, such as Pablo Picasso and cubism. His formal works are characterized by an elongation of the human body and mask-like faces.

With ease and spontaneously, Modigliani traduces the face physiognomy with the expression of the glance, the mood, ignoring the perspective and light and shade laws. His portfolio of portraits, never depicted by memory but always with models, has the immediacy and truth of a personal diary. His liberty of expression is authentic. His way of drawing is thin as the pencil tip but sharp and constructive.

A woman with velvet ribbon and The read head, both dated in 1915, has the effect to galvanize the visitors. An emotional touch flows out ofJeanne Hebutern (1918) as of Portrait of Soutine and Portrait of Soutine.

Stunning are The cellist, Reclining nude, Donna seduta and A woman with white collar.

Amedeo Modigliani. Maurice Drouard, 1909, Olio su tela, cm. 61X46. Collezione privata
Amedeo Modigliani. Maurice Drouard, 1909, Olio su tela, cm. 61X46. Collezione privata

A “book of drawings” full of melancholy, describing unique moments on pages: “Letter to brother Umberto”. This exhibition shows Modigliani next to leading figures of art: his masterpieces are side by side with other gems, all about Paris of Montmartre and Montparnasse , symbols of an epic season. There are works signed by Picasso, Chagall, Léger, Utrillo, Soutine,, multimedia installations, drawings, curiosities and new documents, all taking part to the event.

In Pisa we can smell the perfume of these atmosphere: from Livorno to Paris, in the name of Modì.

The event borrows the works from the Parisian Centre Pompidou, also shows pieces of art from private and public art collection, both Italian and European. “Five wonderful Modilgiani’s works come fromMusée de l’Orangerie of Paris, belonging to Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume, as the exhibition’s curator says, Michel Bouhours one of the maximum researcher of Modigliani and responsible for Centre Pompidou collections.

The exposition is quite extraordinary , not only because it recreates the intimate cultural setting of Modì, but also because courageously is linked to another event at the national museum of San Matteo dedicated to Modigliani’s falses, where the main piece is the Tree Heads founded in the 1984 in Fossi Medicei who after beeing revealed as a creation of a drill made by some men. The miracle turns to be a scandal.

Amedeo Modigliani. La mendicante, 1909, Olio su tela, cm. 46 X 38. Collezione privata
Amedeo Modigliani. La mendicante, 1909, Olio su tela, cm. 46 X 38. Collezione privata

Sculpture is reppresented by masterpieces of Constantin Brancusi, Modigliani’s mentor who attended for many years his atelier. Exsamples are Princess X and Mademoiselle Pogany III who seem to communicate with its two engraved faces in the rock, as in the Modi’s Temple of pleasure, manifesto to the magnetic charm of women.

Jean Michel Bouhours, curator of the Centre Pompidou and creator of the event in Pisa “Amedeo Modigliani et sesamis”, says: ” The exhibition is designed by moments describing Modigliani career: his life in Livorno with his friends, his arrival to Paris and the influence from Cezanne, sculpture and his mentor Constantin Brancusi, connections to cubism and friends of Ecole de Paris. Above all there is the innovative portraiter. Along with this, there is a dedicated area for his works on paper and also an area for the french Jean-Marie Drot movie about Modigliani in Montparnasse”.