Amedeo Modigliani

Amadeo Modigliani’s drawing – Head in left profile

Amedeo Modigliani

Head in profile with earrings and necklace

Dimensions : H : 42,7 cm ; L : 26,5 cm

place of production: Paris ( France )

Condition : Good condition

References : Musée d’art moderne de Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York, Centre Pompidou Paris, Musée d'Art Ohara, Kurashiki Japon;

Conditions & disponibilité: Framed


of work

Head in profile with earrings and necklace

This large Amedeo Modigliani’s drawing shows a woman’s head in profile with a haughty bearing. She is wearing a necklace and earrings. Her hair is held in an imposing bun, forming a fringe at the top of her forehead. The hair, face and neck are outlined with a thick black stone contour, highlighting the elegant profile of this woman’s head.
In the lower left-hand corner is the collection stamp of Dr. Paul Alexandre and the numbering 20,2.
Highlighted in a black frame with gold sheen, the work is presented in a conservation mount and UV-protective glass (Perspex). The mat leaves the edges of the sheet visible.
On the back of the mount are various labels relating to exhibitions that have featured this drawing by Modigliani.

This Amedeo Modigliani’s drawing has been exhibited many times, notably in Venice, New York, Livorno and Vienna.
Acquired directly by Paul Alexandre from Amedeo Modigliani, this drawing was passed down to the current owner.

Ce dessin de Modigliani représente une tête de profil à gauche
Amedeo Modigliani - tete de profil avec boucles d'oreille de l'ancienne collection Paul Alexandre

"I am fair, O mortals! like a dream carved in stone,, ..." Beauty - Charles Baudelaire

Amedeo Modigliani


Emblematic figure of the complete Parisian Bohemian artist, Amedeo Modigliani is one of the most important artists of the early 20th century’s Avant-Garde, through his paintings, sculptures and above all his refined, synthetic drawings, which reflect his entire art and his all-too-short career.
Born in Livorno, Tuscany, to a Jewish merchant family on July 12, 1884, Amedeo Modigliani was a sickly child who was irresistibly drawn to art from an early age. Affected by typhoid and tuberculosis, he came close to death several times, which convinced his mother to let him study art with the Livornese painter Micheli, and prompted her to take Modigliani as a teenager to the south of Italy to regain his health. Between 1900 and 1902, he spent time in Naples, Capri, Florence and Rome, where he immersed himself in the Antiques that were to pepper his drawing and sculptural work, which was strongly influenced by Antiquity, as evidenced by the many caryatids, hieratic and hellenizing female figures he would later draw.
In 1906, he moved to Paris and was introduced to the artistic bohemia of the Montmartre district, which he frequented like Picasso at the Bateau-Lavoir. A year later, he met Dr. Paul Alexandre, who had just graduated at the age of 26. Dr. Paul had made available to his artist friends a pavilion slated for demolition on rue du Delta in Montmartre, which he rented from the City of Paris. Among the Delta’s regulars were Constantin Brancusi, who would influence Modigliani’s transition to sculpture, and Henri Doucet, who introduced the penniless and still unknown painter to Dr. Alexandre. The latter was immediately won over, and became Modigliani’s main admirer and sole patron. “I was immediately struck by his extraordinary talent and wanted to do something for him. I bought drawings and canvases from him, but I was his only buyer, and I wasn’t rich,” says Dr. Alexandre. Poverty marked the life of the Livornese painter. While the artists of the Delta pavilion worked as waiters or handymen alongside their production to earn a living, Modigliani refused any work that distracted him from his art: “He only wanted his art […] he was a born aristocrat. […] He had an exclusive passion for art. There was no question of abandoning, even for a moment, for what he saw as sordid tasks, the very thing that made him what he was.

During these years, Modigliani created a spontaneous drawing system with clear, simplifying strokes, always focused on the direct view, which synthesizes forms and attempts to capture the inner essence of his model. He defined his art as follows: “With one eye, observe the outside world; with the other, look deep inside oneself”. He draws a great deal, repeating the same strokes, the same models, until he achieves the desired purity of line. As for sculpture, which became his main occupation from 1909 onwards, he practiced drawing indefinitely before moving on to direct carving. His subjects were his female muses, nudes, antique subjects such as caryatids, and the world of theater and the circus, which he loved and which was very present at the Delta.
Paul Alexandre commissioned him to paint portraits, and in 1910 entered him in the Salon des Artistes Indépendants, where he exhibited six paintings.
In 1914, Doctor Alexandre was mobilized for the war and the two friends separated, never to see each other again. The painter found in Paul Guillaume a new exclusive patron until 1916, when Léopold Zborowski, a Polish poet, became his dealer and agent. In 1917, he meets Jeanne Hébuterne, a young art student who becomes his latest muse, inspires his series of large nudes and from whom he will have a daughter, Jeanne. Consumed by alcohol and tuberculosis, he died in a Paris hospital on January 24, 1920, aged just 35. In despair, Jeanne Hébuterne took her own life two days later and joined his remains in a common grave at Père Lachaise.
While 80% of Modigliani’s 337 paintings were produced between 1914 and 1919 and are representative of the artist’s late-life style, the drawings produced throughout his career better represent the entire body of work of this all-round artist.

the work

in its context

This Amedeo Modigliani’s drawing is one of the 25 heads shown in left profile in the book Modigliani Unmasked. It is part of a larger collection of some 95 head drawings from the Paul Alexandre collection, which Modigliani produced as studies for the sculpted heads he was creating at the time.

This drawing can be compared with a sculpture of a woman’s head by Modigliani, currently in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Cette oeuvre représente une tête de femme en pierre taillé par Amadeo Modigliani
Tête de femme - Sculpture en pierre - Amedeo Modigliani 1911-1912 - Œuvre conservée à la National Gallery of Art à Washington


The Unknown Modigliani, by Noël Alexandre, Mercatorfonds, 1993. Page 264 [No. 200]

Modigliani Unmasked: Drawings from the Paul Alexandre Collection, Published in conjunction with the exhibition at The Jewish Museum, New York, September 15, 2017 – February 4 2018, Yale University Press. Page 106
Modigliani: The Primitivist Revolution, published in conjunction with the exhibition at The Albertina Museum, Vienna, September 2021 – January 2022, printed by Hirmer. Page 147

This drawing was exhibited at :
– Venice, Palazzo Grassi, 1993-1994
– Montreal, The Museum of Fine Art, 1996
– Rouen, Musée des Beaux Arts, 1996
– New York, The Jewish Museum, 2017-2018
– Livorno, Museo della Citta di Livorno, 2019-2020
– Vienna, The Albertina Museum, 2021-2022

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