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Remembering Amadeo Modigliani

Remembering Amadeo Modigliani

January 24, 2024

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born in 1884 in Livorno, Italy. The occasion of Modigliani’s birth marked him as special from the beginning. His parents had recently suffered some financial difficulties, and were visited by bailiffs at the precise moment Modigliani’s mother went into labour. This allowed the Modligiani’s to invoke an old law which stipulated that bailiffs could not seize the bed of a pregnant woman or new mother. The family piled all their valuable possessions onto the bed to protect them, successfully evading their creditors. By the time Amedeo Modigliani entered the world, he’d already played a part in saving his family from financial ruin.

From an early age, painting became Modigliani’s greatest passion. His mother encouraged his artistic studies, and arranged for him to study under the great artist Guglielmo Micheli. Later, Modigliani worked for Micheli, continuing to create paintings and develop his style. Modligiani’s work was interrupted by bouts of tuberculosis, but despite this, he made his way to Paris in 1906. Although he briefly returned to Livorno in 1909, he would spend the rest of his life in France.

Despite creating hundreds of paintings and benefitting from the cultural richness of Paris in the early 20th century, Modligani did not make a great deal of money from his art during his lifetime. In 1917, just three years before his death, Modigliani met Jeanne Hébuterne, who would later become his common-law wife – and mother to their daughter Jeanne Modigliani.

Hébuterne was pregnant with the couple’s second child in 1920, when Modigliani became seriously unwell with tubercular meningitis. Modigliani died on 24 January 1920, at the Hôpital de la Charité, at the age of 35. Tragically, Hébuterne committed suicide just two days later, when she threw herself from a fifth-floor window – killing herself and her unborn child. At the time of her death, she was just 21 years old.

Despite this tragic end, Modigliani’s work helps to preserve both his legacy, and Jeanne Hébuterne’s. Today, Modigliani continues to inspire artists and art historians. You can see his work on display in museums all over the world.

Here at Kite, this great painter inspired us to create our squared version of his Portrait of Lunia Czechowska.

 

Image credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.




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