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Jeune femme (totote de la gaîté)
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About the item

Painted circa 1917, Jeune femme is a powerful example of Modigliani's mature portraiture. It was executed during the pivotal period in the artist's career, while he was living and working in a small studio in Montparnasse (fig. 3). He moved from Montmartre to Montparnasse in late 1908 or early 1909, and his artistic output of the following years consists primarily of portraits of people from his milieu there. The rue de la Gaîté in Montparnasse was at the time the site of many of the great music-hall theatres, and the sitter of the present work, identified as 'Totote de la Gaîté', was probably a dancer at one of them. Following the tradition of turn-of-the century artists such as Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani was not only a frequent visitor to the night clubs of the metropolis, but also drew from them an important source of inspiration. Deeply immersed in the life of Montparnasse, Modigliani became the quintessential figure of this bohemian community, whose members he immortalised in numerous portraits.\n\nBy the time he painted Jeune femme, Modigliani had developed his mature style, and the portraits of the last three years of his life are among his most refined and accomplished works. It was at this time that he met his fellow artist and companion Jeanne Hébuterne (fig. 1), who was the subject of a number of portraits during this last period of the artist's short life. Having reached a confidence of style and technique, he imbued his portraits with an emotional and psychological dimension evident in the present work. This elegant three-quarter length portrait powerfully synthesises all those characteristic traits which Modigliani developed in his post-1916 portraits: the stylisation and simplification of the female form, the flowing, melodic line of the figure, the elongated neck and face with almond-shaped eyes, the accentuated line of the woman's nose and the pursed, small mouth with sensuous lips. Her beautiful features are clearly delineated, and her sloping eyes give her a melancholic mood to which Modigliani was so highly sensitive and which often reflected his own mental and emotional state.\n\nHaving painted portraits of many individuals from the artistic and bohemian circles of Montparnasse, Modigliani created a sort of chronicle of its life. Werner Schmalenbach observed this documentary quality of Modigliani's portraiture: 'They are unequivocally portraits and, contrary to all the artistic precepts of the age, they possess a documentary value. Even a portrait such as that of Max Jacob, for all its formalization and stylization, is still a likeness - incontestably so, since it is actually based on a photograph. At the same time, however, the sitter's individuality is reduced to the extent that the stylization creates the effect of a mask. This brings African masks to mind, but here there is nothing alien, mysterious or demonic about the mask; it masks nothing. On the contrary, the sitter has sacrificed to the form some of his individuality, his emotions, his affective life, just as the painter, for his part, keeps emotion well away from that form. He looks at his fellow man with great coolness. The warmth of the painting lies solely in its colour. This combination of cool detachment with painterly warmth lends the painting - like many other works by this artist - its own specific 'temperature'' (W. Schmalenbach, Amedeo Modigliani: Paintings, Sculptures, Drawings, Munich, 1990, p. 35).\n\nIn its early history, the present work belonged to Léopold Zborowski, who became Modigliani's dealer after the end of the artist's relationship with Paul Guillaume, and was later acquired by Guillaume himself. Zborowski, who had arrived in Paris in 1913, was introduced to Modigliani probably in 1915 by Moïse Kisling, who lived in the same building. Although he did not open a gallery until 1926, Zborowski began to deal in art from his apartment, installing Modigliani in one of the rooms and providing him with models and materials. Modigliani was introduced to Paul Guillaume in 1914 by Max Jacob and, having started to buy his paintings in the same year, became the artist's first dealer. Modigliani executed several portraits of both Zborowski and Guillaume.\nSigned Modigliani (upper right)
GB
GB
GB

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Amedeo Modigliani

dimensions

73 by 54cm.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie Bing, Amedeo Modigliani, 1925 Tokyo & Osaka, Daimaru, Amedeo Modigliani, 1979, no. 14 Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Amedeo Modigliani, 1981, no. 55, illustrated in colour in the catalogue Moscow, Pushkin Museum, Moskva-Parizh, 1981

literature

Arthur Pfannstiel, Modigliani. L'Art et La Vie, Paris, 1929, mentioned p. 25 (titled Les Yeux tristes and with incorrect measurements) Raffaello Franchi, Modigliani, Florence, 1946, no. XXII, illustrated (titled Ritratto) Arthur Pfannstiel, Modigliani et son œuvre, Paris, 1956, no. 150, catalogued p. 104 (titled Les Yeux tristes and with incorrect measurements) Ambrogio Ceroni, Amedeo Modigliani, Milan, 1965, no. 202, illustrated Leone Piccioni & Ambrogio Ceroni, I dipinti di Modigliani, Milan, 1970, no. 210, illustrated p. 99 John Lanthemann, Modigliani. Catalogue raisonné, Barcelona, 1970, no. 217, illustrated p. 218 Osvaldo Patani, Amedeo Modigliani Catalogo generale. Dipinti, Milan, 1991, no. 216, illustrated p. 227

provenance

Leopold Zborowski, Paris Paul Guillaume, Paris Galerie Bing, Paris (1925) Dr Charpentier, Paris (acquired by 1929) Sale: Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 30th March 1954, lot 91 Private Collection, Paris (acquired by 1965) Mr Halphen, France (sale: Sotheby's, London, 30th June 1982, lot 34) Purchased at the above sale by the father of the present owner

signedDate

Signed Modigliani (upper right)

time_period

Painted circa 1917.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private German Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1884 - 1920


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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