the man his art On the experts Fakes & Forgeries On the market
from Born to Venice Drawings Past experts Myth and reality on his fakes The market
Arrival to Paris Sculpture Catalogues done in the past Famous forgers trust in the market?
Becoming an artist Painting Actual /Living experts known and undoubted fakes Auctions & Modigliani
on the path All the attributed works Catalogues of actual experts how to detect a fake Galleries & Museums
The artist Exhibitions during his lifetime How should an expertise must be done what to do with forgeries and forgers Famous collectors fromt the past to actual times
The myth Exhibitions until today News on the experts Art Historians, a trustable source? News on the market
Selected bibliography on him News on his art References  and Bibliography on the experts references on fakes & forgeries references & links on the market

1920-1950

the fake myth


To give you an idea of the good consideration that Modigliani acquired after his death and how serious he was considered by art historians, I will refer to a quite gloomy and gothic episode; after his death Lipchitz, Moricand and Kisling made a death mask (something that was usual in past times...)

Let´s call it the death mask affaire or the "Memento Mori, Ohhh Shit":

1.- Usually done, face, hands or whatever part of the body of the portrayed was important (in Modigliani, it seems they didn't get enough plaster to do the hands, just the face.)
.
2.- They were done using plaster or wax.

3.- The mask was used for later portraits of kings, rulers or famous people.

4.- Photography ended this disturbing behavior.

5.- The result usually ends up in museums or with relatives and it was quite common that it ended up in connoisseurs' collections.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well the thing is that once Modigliani was dead, Lipchitz decided to do a death mask, a thing that requires preparation and experience (he had none in the matter).

He used plaster that weighed too much (so the face looks worse) and when it is getting dry it tends to burn the skin (OK he was not going to complain, but the use of plaster means you leave the face almost destroyed.)

So once the death mask was supposed to be dry he decided to take it off the face and with the casting they tore the skin off his cheek, ripped off his hair line , and almost the complete eyelids of the master.

They got nervous and finally the casting broke so what we now see as the casting of Modigliani Memento Mori is in reality a reconstruction of his face that destroyed the face of the genius...

Instead of ending up quickly in a museum it went first as a piece of junk to the family stuff of Lipchitz, it never ended up in the hands of his relatives and from the messy studio of Lipchitz it finally wound up in an American connoisseur's collection mixed with even more crap.

Just imagine how well considered he was...
( just a piece of rubbish from a flea market)

Only in the 60´s when Modigliani's name was really revalidated from the crap of myths and nonsense his mask ended up in a serious Museum, the Norton Simon in Pasadena, California (just 9092 km. away, of course if that is the original, probably you can get one at a Drouot auction one of these days, I´am not sure if Parisot has the "original" one...).


Modigliani death mask at the Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena Calif. Source: LINK

Gift to the museum by barbara poe S.

Modigliani death mask while in Lipchitz's possession (this picture dates from 1933), it is easy to note the eyelid skin tear and it has not been arranged as it appears to be in the one in the Norton Simon.

As in many other things related to Modigliani's friends and critics (and Lipchitz became one of the worst) it is impossible to know how many castings he made and later sold as the only original...

An undated image of the mask, probably in plaster, the eyelids have not been polished to hide the destruction....
The mask..now in the Norton Simon?--featured as part of the " trinkets" collected by Bernaid Reis from New York.
HOME AND BUILDING, VOLUME 18 NUMBER 1 (JUNE 1955)


Sad, but this shows clearly how well considered he was until the 60´s.
(Is it the one that Phyllis Lutyens gave as a gift to the Met Museum in 1972???)

There is another one that ended up in the Chester Dale collection.
Another one in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller collection that ended up as a gift to Moma NY
Another one for auction 31-May 2012, Numbered V/VII (5/7)
Another at the Hirshhorn Museum IN Washington DC LINK
Another one at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem LINK saying it an edition of 12 ???
Another one dated as from 25 January 1920 that wound up in the Pompidou as a gift from the Societe des Amis du Musee N. de art Moderne...
Another one at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago University LINK saying that it is part of an edition of 7 but it is numbered 8...

So at least we have 9 located : (the first masks mention an edition of 7 and a little later there is a new edition of 12 - so there must be 19?)

  1. Norton Simon Foundation.
  2. MOMA New York.
  3. Metropolitan Museum New York
  4. Private Hands, for auction in 2012
  5. Hirshhorn museum Washington DC
  6. Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  7. Smart Museum, Chicago
  8. Chester Dale collection NY
  9. Georges Pompidou, Paris ( Inv. AM 1205 O.A. dated as 25 january 1920)

    And there must be another 10 more?, c'mon his "friends" making money from his death mask, isn't it cruel???

And after this practical example of the consideration and respect his friends showed for him after his death let´s go back to the year by year style.

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1920

months dead

His death leaves Hébuterne in a complete state of shock, at first Zborowski seems to help her, but finally he gets rid of her by calling her parents.
Some biographer talk of a suicide attempt that was stopped in time, but there are no clear facts, she returned to her family's house and the same evening (26th of January), when her brother thought she was asleep, she opened the window and jumped from the 5th floor to meet Modigliani (the most tragic part is that she was 9 months pregnant), next morning Modigliani is buried (27th).
This is the point where Zborowski and his friends show their real faces...

They were more worried about presenting a fake happening of the burial of a prince than taking care of the deceased.

While they were still talking about the burial, Jeanne was taken from one place to another in a carriage to search for a place to rest, Zbo the sensible poet denied rest to the widow in his own house and finally he had to agree to host the corpse...
finally poor Jeanne was buried almost in secret in the Bagneux cemetery.

The myth was cooked, the newspapers were now talking about the tragedy of a poor child who jumped from a window to follow her lover.

In December (11 months later) an exhibition was held at the Galerie Montaigne as a small retrospective.

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1921

1 year dead

His art helped Zbo to obtain a name, he could now open his own gallery and was obtaining good profits from the paintings left by...
Americans and Europeans want to get their little piece of the famous martyr, they are collected more as a souvenir of bohemian Paris than as a real work of art to admire.
Zbo organized another retrospective at Galerie L'Evoque.
In this year Simone Thiroux dies of TB leaving a child that will never be recognized or even helped by the family in Livorno.

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1922

2 years dead


Zbo organized another exhibit at Bernheim Jeune including 29 works.
The 23th Venice Biennale shows a small retrospective.

A few artworks enter Museums as presents from the old owners, museums send them to storage.


...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1923

3 years dead

Barnes visits the Guilliaume gallery to buy art (at least 12) and G. makes public the acquisitions of the American.

Following his much-praised show at Galerie Paul Guillaume in Paris and the arrival of dozens of newly acquired works of art for his collection, Albert Barnes gave Philadelphia a glimpse of his holdings. In April 1923, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presented Exhibition of Contemporary European Paintings, a display of 75 contemporary paintings and sculptures from among his latest acquisitions. Barnes was not identified as their owner, but he wrote and signed the introduction to the exhibition catalogue. 
Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Archives (www.pafa.org)

...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1924

4 years dead


In this year and the next there are several exhibitions of his works, the most notable is the one that take place at the Galerie Bing, which was a total failure, there were no sales and the lack of interest was total.

Four years after the tragedy, the scandal was not interesting anymore.


...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1925

5 years dead

A few exhibits of less importance, it was almost forgotten and nothing to mention.


...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

1926

6 years dead


13 works by Modigliani are exhibited at the Salon des Independants 30th anniversary.
Zbo has his own gallery full of Modiglianis (I have read somewhere that he used Modigliani's friends to finish artworks and create new ones).

Andre Salmon, a poet (not a very good one, by the way) published his book "Modigliani Sa vie et son oeuvre" a bad recollection of fake situations and a few artworks, in his work myths are taken as truth and a completely stupid biography (even more silly than the secrest one) becomes a truth claiming he saw it all...

He knew Modigliani and the relation they had was a simple cold friendship, they had common friends, but it was not a relation deep enough to explain one's more inner thoughts to the other..

Salmon can be blamed for a good portion of the myth but on the other hand he achieved a revival of the name saving it from getting lost in time.


...................................................................................................................................................................................................................
The rest in process...