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Modigliani & The Artists of Montparnasse

Amedeo Modigliani

Tuesday, October 22, 2002–Sunday, January 12, 2003

Amedeo Modigliani. Portrait of Lunia Czechowska, 1919. oil on canvas. Collection Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Curated by Dr. Kenneth Wayne and organized and circulated by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, this exhibition features fifty-six works by Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884-1920), including works from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Collection. Exhibited alongside Modigliani’s works are works by his fellow artists living in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris at the start of the twentieth century.

As a child, Modigliani received extensive artistic training and was extremely well read in literature and philosophy. In 1906, at the age of 22, Modigliani arrived in Paris. Within a year of his arrival, he was drawn into the mad whirl of bohemian Paris, rejecting his earlier self as hopelessly bourgeois. He lived and worked in Paris—with a brief interlude to Nice during World War I—for the duration of his life, passing away at the age of 35 from tubercular meningitis.  

Modigliani took the traditional medium of portraiture and modernized it. He often elongated the neck of his sitters, creating an elegant and surrealistic image that feels very soulful. Even though Modigliani sculpted quite a bit in his early artistic years, his poor health made it difficult to be prolific and only 27 of his sculptures are known to exist.  With sculpture, Modigliani tried to capture the raw, primitive, and mysterious power of African masks, as well as the beatific smiles of Cambodian or Khmer heads.

The work of Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1893–1943), Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Constantin Brancusi (Romanian, 1876–1957), Jacques Lipchitz (French, 1891–1973), Jacob Epstein (British, 1880–1959), and Chaim Soutine (Russian, 1893–1943) is exhibited with the Modigliani works in this exhibition.

Modigliani & The Artists of Montparnasse will open at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on October 22, 2003 and will be on view until January 12, 2003. It will then travel to the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas from February 9 through May 25, 2003 and finally to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California from June 29 through September 28, 2003.

The exhibition was made possible, in Buffalo, by the generous support of M&T Bank. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities and, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.