modigliani's art

WHAT HE CREATED

 

HOW EXTENSE IS HIS BODY OF WORK

Here I mix my personal opinion with the opinion of experts I trust,
please have in mind that personal means that I do not pretend to create a scholar text...

Not a very large life work.
Started painting at 14 years (b.1884) so it covers the work produced during less than 21 years (died January 1920)
but what is really interesting is just 4 years
(Picasso´s means more than 80 years and much more than 50,000 works).

It's even more easy to see his work in perspective if we take the word of Frank Perls, one of the main experts/dealers in Modigliani during the 50's to 70's:

"Modigliani did not develop his own style until 1915-16".
"He came into his own in 1916".
"Those last four years; that's really all that Modigliani is"..
LINK

PLEASE NOTE: AMEDEO MODIGLIANI NEVER DID PRINT EDITIONS, BRONZE SCULPTURES OR ANY TYPE OF SERIAL PRODUCTION.
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All the works presented in this page are my selection, on this page I take out by my own will the works I don't like
not because I think they are fakes or original, just because I don´t like them.

REPEAT: I do not say none of this are fakes or original, I just present them as I like.
If you have anything to add, contact me.
It's a classical myth he was always drunk, stoned and out of his mind, Looking at his work, this just can't be true...
Try to get drunk and paint or what ever you do to live, maybe one time it can go swell but not for 21 years (his work is always a genuine master composition).
Ok, he lived a bohemian avant garde life playing on the border line, but his work resembles the classical tuscan perspective, linear and golden perfection (drunk or stoned he could not reach that perfection for such a long time).
If we give credit to his daughter, Jeanne. he never painted drunk or stoned, (an easy explanation: he was always short of money and oil and canvas were very expensive).
Jeanne, a toddler when her parents died, was raised by the father’s sister in Italy. She knew him only from letters and documents, she died in 1984, leaving a very controversial art resource, new works, printings and bronze serial sculptures.
In any case, leaving myths and gossips on his bohemian life aside, the main issue is that Modigliani recovers the glorious past from Ucello, Masaccio, Michelozzi, Gozzoli and many other great masters.
Created a new way, an art style than can't be followed by others (there is no school of), amazing, fresh, opposite to the main tendencies or trendy styles of his time, but in his time.
As the good art, he relies in a background retrieved from the past and presents a new way and own creation, a brand new style in art.

Drawings

As with many others Artist, drawings are crucial in the development of his own language, but in the case of Modigliani they can be a little bit harder to work with.
"Imagine you are in a night disco with friends and a drunken artist that looks like a homeless person comes to you asking for a cigar or a free drink and in exchange he will make you a drawing, what would you do?"
Answer:
Get rid of the drunk. You can get in a fight or give him a few coins/drink/cigar to get rid of him and throw the "thing" into the trash...

Yes it sounds cruel but that was the real destiny of many of his drawings, only a few were done for serious selling and well preserved (as for instance the Alexandre collection).
That is the main reason why the fakers filled the need for drawings of an ever willing public, to get more from the market (less expensive= more customers= more production).
They were fast works, undocumented and easy to sell after his death.

Only in recent times forensic support is available for paper works but is a difficult method that require money, lots of time and do not assure 100% security.
Any "EXPERT" who tried (or tries) to do a catalogue raisonné on this issue has some hard work ahead of him. Presently only Marc Restellini are up to it.

So if you ever own or wanted to own a drawing by Modigliani, just remember that the main museums have a large bunch of them "in storage"... No matter if it is Sotheby's/Christie's/local auction/E-bay/flea market or the best gallery from New York, Paris, London be aware of the real circumstances in drawings, you can only rely on a perfect provenance, old sales and lots of older publications of it, and even in that case...

Anyway if you think that you can trust your dealership because it has a large, trustful position or is one of the oldest and most prestigious ones in the market, do a little search for news on one of the most venerable, respected and important galleries: Knoedler & Co.

Just-Closed 165-Year-Old Upper East Side Gallery Sued for Selling Fakes .. LINK
165-Year-Old Knoedler & Company Gallery Closes Suddenly .....LINK
Motherwell Painting Declared A Forgery.....LINK
Art dealers accused of selling fake Motherwells .. LINK
Possible Forging of Modern Art Is Investigated ....LINK

A few drawings auctioned to show provenance means all
(even if they seem to be the same, or almost the same):
FEMME NUE DE FACE amedeo modigliani FEMME NUE DE FACE amedeo modigliani Cariatide  amedeo modigliani NU ASSIS amedeo modigliani

Sothebys - Impressionist and Modern Art
Paris | 03 Dec 2008 | PF8019 - LOT 17

FEMME NUE DE FACE
porte le cachet de Paul Alexandre DR P A 16,7 (en bas à droite)
PROVENANT DE LA COLLECTION PAUL ALEXANDRE
crayon gras sur papier
42,9 x 26,7 cm
Exécuté vers 1911-12.
Est. 250,000-350,000 EUR
Lot Sold: 318,750 EUR

Sothebys - Impressionist and Modern Art, Works on Paper
London | 06 Feb 2007 | L07006 - LOT 153

FEMME NUE DE FACE
stamped with the collector's mark (lower right)
black crayon on paper
42.8 by 26.5cm.
Executed circa 1911-12.
ESTIMATE 100,000-150,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 264,000 GBP

PROVENANCE
PROPERTY FROM THE PAUL ALEXANDRE COLLECTION

LITERATURE
Osvaldo Patani, Amedeo Modigliani, Catalogo Generale, Disegni 1906-1920 con i disegni provenienti dalla collezione Paul Alexandre (1906-1914), Milan, 1994, no. 861, illustrated p. 372


Christie's - Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper
London|19 June 2007 - SALE 7407 - Lot 163

Cariatide
with the signature 'Modigliani' (lower right)
brush and brown ink on paper
13¼ x 9 7/8 in. (34 x 25.2 cm.)

Estimate GBP 10,000 - GBP 15,000
Lot Sold: 19,200 GBP

Provenance
J. Goudrexon, Paris, by whom acquired in Paris circa 1920, and thence by descent;
sale, Christie's, London, 2 December 1986, lot 233.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

Sothebys Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale
New York | 05 Nov 2009 | N08588 - LOT 149

NU ASSIS
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Signed Modigliani (lower right)
Pencil and watercolor on paper
54.3 by 43.5 cm - Executed circa 1914.
ESTIMATE 300,000-400,000 USD
Lot Sold: 302,500 USD
PROVENANCE
Galerie Beyeler, Basel / Private Coll, Basel / Private Collection, Zurich
LITERATURE:
Ambrogio Ceroni, Amedeo Modigliani, dessins et sculptures,
Milan, 1965, no. 125, illustrated p. 36

Sculpture

He left a small bunch (27 confirmed by experts, maybe 31-35 possible).
His health, his low capacity to acquire good and constant materials and the little time he was able to work, made him a short run sculptor. All the main ones are today in museums, You can use the fingers on one hand to number the works that are in private collections.

Probably we will never know how many of the works recognized as authentic are really by him, but let's say that it's really not an important amount in comparison to the figures associated with other names such as Giacometti, Picasso, Rodin, Degas, Brancusi, etc...
Since the "Livorno Joke" the "EXPERTS" with a catalogue raisonné on this matter act just as mere copyists of the previous one

Note: he only worked in stone, marble and wood, he never did a bronze ( so all those castings made in bronze stamped with Jeanne Modigliani's mark are in fact NOT BY MODIGLIANI, it´s just a silly stupid law in europe that allows the inheritance to cast original works and forge them in limeted editions - that they are the only to control the number of editions of course - and sell them as if they were originals.

So if you ever own or wanted to own an ORIGINAL SCULPTURE by Modigliani, just remember that it may take a figure with 7 , 8 or even 9 zeros from your bank account and you will have to fight with the richest collectors of the whole world to get it...
And act as you would act if investing in a financial product, ask for as many proofs of provenance as you can, chemical information, etc. etc. There are no cheap ones and the possible lost ones would be totally impossible to certify.
Look what happened to Frank and klaus Perls + the Metropolitan museum:

One of the best friends of Perls said in an interview: "It's better for Klaus to take the loss than to admit he was sold a fake. And, anyway, he now has a very attractive doorstop."
I do not say this is not an original, but there are so many doubts that it even requires a little investigation by the Metropolitan Museum in New York that actually owns it:

head at the met
 Link to the page in the Met museum: LINK
Another related: LINK
Painting
This was the reason why this page was born so requires its own page, please click here