Tête de femme, KIKI?.


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GENERAL DATA:


TITLES GIVEN:

  1. Tête de femme
  2. KIKI?.
DATED:
1915.
 
SIZE:
17 x 10 3/8 in.
43.2 x 26.4 cm.
 
MEDIUM:
oil and gouache over pencil on paper laid down on board  .
 
SIGNED:
signed 'modigliani' (lower center).
 
MARKS OR INSCRIPTIONS:
-
 
ACTUAL LOCATION:
THYSSEN MUSEUM MADRID

 


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BIBLIOGRAPHY & EXHIBITION HISTORY:



Literature
  1. A. Pfannstiel, Modigliani, L'art et la vie, Paris, 1929, p. 61 (illustrated).
  2. J. Lanthemann, Modigliani, Catalogue raisonné, Barcelona, 1970, p. 145, no. 677 (illustrated, p. 328).
  3. O. Patani, Amedeo Modigliani: Catalogo Generale, Disegni 1906-1920, Milan, 1994, p. 78, no. 83 (illustrated in color). 

Exhibited
  1. Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, Modigliani, L'ange au visage grave, October 2002-March 2003, p. 188 (illustrated in color, p. 189; titled Tête). 
  2. madrid, museo thyssen-bornemisza modigliani y su tiempo, 5 february - 18 may 2008, illustrated in color.

 


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PROVENANCE & SALES:



F. Ciulli, Rome (acquired in 1941); sale, Christie's, London, 25 June 1985, lot 364.
Ian Woodner, New York. Dian and Andrea Woodner, New York (by bequest from the above); sale, Christie's, New York, 3 November 1993, lot 153.
Acquired at the above sale by present owner. 

Christie's, New York (5 Nov, 2003)

Sale 1300 - Lot 116
Estimate: $ 80,000 - $ 120,000 usd
sold for: $ 83,650 usd

lot notes:

Modigliani arrived in Paris in January 1906. He mainly drew and painted portrait and nude subjects, which were influenced by the works of Paul Cézanne, African art, the art of Southeast Asia, and the Italian Trecento.

In his 1914 portraits of fellow painters Diego Rivera (Ceroni, no. 41) and Frank Burty Haviland (Ceroni, nos. 42 and 43), Modigliani adapted a technique derived from the divisionist brushstroke of the Neo-Impressionists, using small tesserae-like patches of color, similar to the style that Paul Signac was still employing at this time. This may have appeared to be a somewhat retrogressive practice at this late date, but Modigliani was probably looking at the divisionist technique that the Futurist Gino Severini had introduced into his paintings of 1913-1914. This may have inspired Picasso to incorporate passages of decorative pointillism in some of hispapier-collés during this same period.

The stippled technique in the present drawing, executed in the following year, marks the final evolution of this technique into an expressive means of creating firm and forceful contours that simultaneously allow the painted sheet to display an aerated and a vibrant surface. The effect is similar to that of the repeated, broken parallel contours seen around objects in late Cézanne watercolors. Modigliani dipped his brush in paint, rubbed off most of the wet pigment so that his brush was almost dry, and quickly dabbed the paper in rhythmically punctuated strokes. The influence of this practice can be seen in the saw-tooth line and emphatically hatched passages in later pencil drawings.


private collection up to 2008
acquired by thyssen bronemisza museum, madrid

THYSSEN MUSEUM COLLECTION file:

Cabeza de mujer. ¿Kiki?
1915
Óleo sobre papel. 43 x 26 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Nº INV. 791 (1991.5)

LINK >>


Thyssen text:

Modigliani was above all a portraitist. According to Werner Schmalenbach , his need to “take possession of those around him” stemmed from a sort of “primary instinct” inherent in his very nature as an artist. Always departing from painting tradition, his entire oeuvre exudes a classical serenity and harmony that combines with the formal schematisation taken from primitive sculpture and from the influence of Cézanne and Cubism.
Although the present Head of a Woman, painted in oil on paper, is not featured in Joseph Lanthemann’s catalogue raisonné , it can be related to a set of heads dated 1915, which evidence the artist’s shift from sculpture to painting as a result of the influence of Cubist geometry. It may be a portrait of Kiki de Montparnasse, whose identity, as was common practice in Modigliani, is concealed by his use of types: the schematised face, the asymmetrical eyes that have no gaze, and the features converted into signs. Modigliani heavily geometrises his sitters and this, together with their almost sacred solemnity and emotional distancing, raises them to the category of effigies. As Tamar Garb aptly sums up, “the power of Modigliani’s portraits lies in their capacity to render the tensions between the generic and the specific, the mask and the face, the endemic and the particular”.
The portrait belonged to French ambassador Henri Hoppenot (1891–1977) and his wife Hélène Hoppenot , an art lover and friend of numerous avant-garde artists like Marcel Duchamp. The couple amassed a large collection of art and artistic objects from the Far East.
Paloma Alarcó

 


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