LA FANTESCA


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GENERAL DATA:


TITLES GIVEN:

  1. LA FANTESCA
  2. the servant
  3. the nanny
  4. woman seated in frontal view
DATED:
1915
 
SIZE:

31 7/8 by 18 1/8 in.
81 x 46 cm.

pfannstiel by mistake: 100 x 65 cm.

 
MEDIUM:
Oil on canvas.
 
SIGNED:
Signed Modigliani (upper right).
 
MARKS OR INSCRIPTIONS:
-.
 
ACTUAL LOCATION:
PRIVATE COLLECTION

 


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BIBLIOGRAPHY & EXHIBITION HISTORY:



Literature
  1. pfannstiel arthur, modigliani catalogue presume, 1929, page 17.
  2. cocteau jean, modigliani, paris et feldading (ed. allde) 1953, illustrated in color plate 16.
  3.  pfannstiel arthur, Modigliani et son oeuvre, Paris, 1956, no. 108, dated in 1916 and titled as femme assise de face ( woman seated in frontal position).
  4. Ambrogio Ceroni & Leone Piccioni, I dipinti di Modigliani, Milan, 1970, no. 61, p. 90-91
  5. Opere di artisti toscani (exhibition catalogue), Galeria d'arte moderna Fratelli Falsetti, Prato, 1972, no. 72, illustrated.
  6. Ambrogio Ceroni, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Modigliani, Paris, 1972, no. 61, illustrated p. 91
  7. Osvaldo Patani, Amedeo Modigliani, Catalogo Generale, Dipinti, Milan, 1991, no. 64, illustrated p. 92

Exhibited
  1. Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Collection André Lefèvre, 1964, no. 207
  2. New York, Acquavella Galleries, Amedeo Modigliani, 1971, no. 7
  3. Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, Modigliani, L'ange au visage grave, 2002-03, no. 42, ill. in color in the catalogue

 


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PROVENANCE & SALES:



leopold zborowski, paris
bernheim jeune, paris
private collection (by 1958), paris
André Lefèvre, Paris (1965)
Private Collection, Paris (before 1970)
(sold: Collection André Lefèvre, Tableaux Modernes, Palais Galliéra, Paris, November 25, 1965, lot 69)
Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière, Paris
European Private collector.


Sotheby's, New York (04 Nov 2009).

Sale N08587 - lot 39
ESTIMATE 3,500,000-5,000,000 USD
Lot Sold: 3,666,500 USD

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION

lot notes:

No matter who his models were or how conservatively they dressed, Modigliani reveled in exposing the sensuality of his female sitters. Sometimes his focus was more explicit than others. In this candid portrait of a domestic servant from 1915, the artist achieves intimacy with this model by the very manner in which he applies his paint to the canvas. He renders her figure with semi-transparent brush strokes, evoking the innocence of this young woman who is quite literally "stripped" of any opacity.
Although his portraits are considered among the finest of the 20th century, Modigliani's working methods were unorthodox. His good looks and bacchanalian temperament sometimes intimidated his models, and his unprofessional antics would make for a lively, if not unnerving, afternoon in the studio. Lunia Czechowska, one of his most frequent models, described how the artist's joie de vivre got the better of him the first time he painted her portrait:"Gradually as the session went on and the hours passed, I was no longer afraid of him. I see him still in shirtsleeves, his hair all ruffled trying to fix my features on the canvas. From time to time he extended his hand toward a bottle of cheap table wine (vieux marc). I could see the alcohol taking effect: he was so excited he was talking to me in
Italian. He painted with such violence that the painting fell over on his head has he leaned forward to see me better. I was terrified. Ashamed of having frightened me, he looked at me sweetly and began to sing Italian songs to make me forget the incident" (quoted in Pierre Sichel, A Biography of Amedeo Modigliani, New York, 1967, p. 325). What distinguishes Modigliani's portraits is the balance between his unique mannerism on one hand, and a naturalism and interest in the personality and psychology of his sitters on the other. This neo-mannerist style that characterised his work is partly derived from the artist's fascination with the Old Masters of his native Italy. As Werner Schmalenbach wrote: "Historical associations impose themselves: echoes not only of the fifteenth-century Mannerism
of Sandro Botticelli but of the classic sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Mannerism of Pontormo, Parmigianino and perhaps also El Greco. One work often mentioned in connection with Modigliani's late portraits of women is Parmigianino's Madonna dal collo lungo; Pontormo's St. Anne Alterpiece is equally relevant. Modigliani had a sound knowledge of Italian art, and we must assume that he was well aware of all this, however direct or indirect the actual influence" (Werner Schmalenbach, Modigliani, Munich, 1980, p. 42). Apart from these historical influences, Modigliani was acutely aware of the artistic developments of his own time.
Although he never subscribed to the syntax of Cubism, he adopted some of its stylistic devices, such as the geometric simplification and break-up of forms, and was close to the sculptors Ossip Zadkine and Jacques Lipchitz, both of whom were strongly influenced by Cubism. Even more important, perhaps, was his relationship with Brancusi, whom he met in 1909. Brancusi not only encouraged him to carve directly in stone, causing him to virtually abandon painting for several years, but also gave the most convincing demonstration of how influences from the widest possible range of sources – tribal, archaic, Asian and African – could be transformed into a personal idiom of the greatest originality.
Although Modigliani never developed a style as close to abstraction and as far removed from the world of natural appearances as that of Brancusi, he was strongly influenced by Brancusi's simplified forms, reducing his sitters' faces to a few highly stylized features.

Private collection ?

 


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More in a future...