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Thursday, August 7, 2008

~ Modigliani ...A Dark Love Story ~

The Exuberant Artist Amedeo Modigliani

“Do you know what love is? Have you ever loved so deeply that you would condemn yourself to an eternity in hell? I have.” Words spoken by Jeanne Hébuterne in the movie "Modigliani"

Modigliani's Last Muse


Italian painter, sculptor and draughtsman, Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) actively began painting in Paris in 1906. He studied the Italian Renaissance painters, and because of the linear similarities of his work, has often been compared to Botticelli.
While in Paris, he was influenced by the Fauves and Cubists, as well as by the sculptor Brancusi, yet Modigliani is most often described as an individualist since his work does not reflect or have any connection with the art movements of his time. Extremely elongated figures of women are common in his art. "La Femme ... 1'ventail" illustrates his use of simplified form and graceful lines. The influence of African art is also apparent in this particular painting. Modigliani was addicted to drugs and alcohol and eventually died from tuberculosis. He was, however, first and foremost, an artist and was extremely devoted to his art in spite of his obsessions....Global Gallery.com

And a dark love story unfolds.....

*** *** *** *** *** ****

An elusive figure inhabits the sundrenched rooms of Modigliani's Montparnasse studio in Rue de la Grande Chaumiere. She sits quietly in a corner, sketching, paces the corridor with a heavy step, waits at the window, looking down at skeletal trees in an empty courtyard. From Modigliani's many portraits of her, we recognize the otherworldly gaze, the coppery hair coiled like a geisha's, the unflattering hint of double chin. It is Jeanne Hebuterne, Modigliani's last mistress, only friend, and the mother of his daughter, Jeanne Modigliani.

Until October 2000, when her artwork was featured in a major Modigliani exhibition in Venice at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, not much was known about Jeanne Hebuterne, except for the tragic story of her suicide in 1920. She was a promising young artist, fourteen years Modigliani's junior. Much too early in their love affair, Jeanne became pregnant with their first child. She was approaching the end of her second pregnancy when, destitute, abandoned by all but Jeanne, Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis on January 24, 1920. Unable to face life without him, she walked backwards out a Paris window twenty-four hours later, and at the age of twenty-one, exited a world she had but little known.

In the years that followed, Jeanne Hebuterne's papers were scattered, her artworks and possessions secretly guarded by her brother, Andre Hebuterne. Surviving family members and friends would not collaborate with biographers and scholars who later attempted to piece together the facts of Jeanne's relationship with Modigliani and to define her place in Montparnasse.

In 1984, Jeanne's daughter, Jeanne Modigliani, entrusted to the French art critic, Christian Parisot, previously unknown materials documenting
Modigliani's relationship with Jeanne Hebuterne and Hebuterne's activities as an artist. She posed one condition concerning future publication. The true story of Jeanne Hebuterne was to be kept secret until the year 2000. In October 2000, the last veil was lifted when sixty drawings and a half-dozen paintings by this heretofore unknown artist were viewed for the first time at the Modigliani exhibition in Venice...

The essay from which this excerpt was taken
first appeared in the Summer 2003
issue of The Literary Review and was nominated
for a Pushcart Prize

Beauty in Darkness




The Red Nude ~ Modigliani



Jeanne

3 comments:

Jeanne said...

I love all that you share my darling friend.
Kisses
Sparkling sunshine wishes

Sea Angels said...

Well what a fantastic post, not only really interesting, but my goodness wasn't she beautiful!!!
Hugs Lynn xx

Annabelle said...

Yes....A Beauty of the Past!

~ Can I Keep You ?

~ Can I Keep You ?

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Starry, originally uploaded by Zsaj.

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Twilight at Sea


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