Amedeo Modigliani

(Livorno 1884 - 1920 Paris)

The scion of a prosperous Jewish family, Modigliani apprentices with the painter Guglielmo Micheli in Livorno from 1898 until 1900. After studying at the academies of Florence and Venice from 1902 until 1905, Modigliani arrives in Paris in 1906, finding inspiration in the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Paul Cézanne. In 1908, he exhibits together with the Fauves in the Salon des Indépendants. The encounter with Constantin Brancusi, who draws his attention to African tribal art and encourages him to try his hand at sculpture, is a turning point. From 1910 until 1915, Modigliani devotes most of his energy to sculpture; he returns to painting when the stone dust produced while carving weakens his lungs. In 1914, he meets Chaïm Soutine, who becomes his closest friend. Modigliani’s social situation deteriorates, in no small part because of his dependency on alcohol and drugs. The art dealer Paul Guillaume takes an interest in his output in 1915, followed, in 1917, by the Polish poet and art dealer Léopold Zborowski. In 1918, an exacerbation of the tuberculosis from which he has suffered since his childhood sends his health into decline. After spending over six months near Nice in 1919, he returns to Paris.