In Vienna a major exhibition on Modigliani from 130 works

From Sept. 17, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022, the Albertina in Vienna is hosting a major exhibition dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani: a total of about 130 works are on display.

A massive exhibition on Amedeo Modigliani (Leghorn, 1884 - Paris, 1920) opened on September 17, and will run until January 9, 2022, at theAlbertina in Vienna: titled Modigliani. The primitivist revolution, the exhibition, curated by Marc Restellini (curator of the catalog raisonné of Modigliani’s paintings) intends to trace, through some 130 works arriving from three different continents, the entire career of the Leghorn artist, who throughout his life was plagued by poverty, the blows of adverse fate, excesses due to drug use and serious illnesses, earning as an artist just enough to cover the costs of rent and the strictest necessities. Yet today the works of Amedeo Modigliani, in his lifetime an unfortunate artist who died in his studio in 1920 at the age of only 35, are among the public’s beloved and esteemed by the market, with individual paintings reaching nine-figure figures.

The major exhibition in Vienna comes just short of the centenary of his death, which fell in 2020 (it was in fact scheduled last year but was postponed due to the pandemic), and represents the first exhibition in Austria for Modigliani. It brings together important works from the most renowned museums and private collections, from the U.S. to Singapore and from Britain to Russia, with a large number of works from the Musée Picasso in Paris and the collection of Jonas Netter, one of Modigliani’s major patrons during his lifetime.

The story of Amadeo Modigliani, a painter and sculptor whose career and life were severed by his untimely death, could not be more dramatic: at the young age of 11 Modigliani suffered a severe case of pleurisy. In 1898, at the age of 14, he contracted typhoid, a disease that was considered fatal at the time. Later, he suffered from chronic tuberculosis, which eventually cost him his life at the young age of 35. Two days after his death, his fiancée Jeanne Hébuterne (eight months pregnant) took her own life. Artistically, Modigliani looked to the Renaissance, but also to African, Egyptian, East Asian and archaic Greek art. The aim of the exhibition is precisely to devote attention to the contributions that fueled Modigliani’s art, and to his ongoing exploration of the origins of art: thus, Modigliani’s work is compared with the works of his colleagues Pablo Picasso, Constantin BrâncuÅ?i and André Derain, as well as with artifacts from prehistoric and non-European world cultures.

Modigliani’s legendary life and his way of crossing artistic boundaries hold a special place in art history, without his being a forerunner or pioneer of a defined movement. Embedded in the Parisian Montmartre art scene, he lived in continuous exchange with the greats of his era and left us impressive portraits of figures including Picasso, Matisse, and Diego Rivera, although he remained an unknown figure throughout his life. His success was hindered in part by several factors, beginning with the scandals that certain of his works gave when he was alive. Moreover, the Leghorn artist was always considered the loner who followed only his own artistic ideals. However, his building of bridges between modern art and that of the past continues to represent an exceptional and entirely individual contribution to art history: the purpose of the exhibition is to uncover this aspect of his art. To learn more, you can visit the Albertina website.

Image: left, Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait of Léopold Zborowski (1916; oil on canvas; Netter Collection). Right, Amedeo Modigliani, Girl with Red Hair (1918; oil on canvas; Private Collection)

In Vienna a major exhibition on Modigliani from 130 works
In Vienna a major exhibition on Modigliani from 130 works

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