Easy job thinking of an art movie title again this week :) After the first ten art movies (which you can see here http://goo.gl/v4Mw8 ) the 11th #ArtMovie that I am adding is one of my favourites so far and has to do with the artist whose birthday we just celebrated : it is, of course, Modigliani (2004) :)
Somewhat romanticized and not completely true, this movie still has much charm, either because of tremendous Andy Garcia in the role of Amedeo ;) or lovely evocative soundtrack that accompanies it. Directed and written by Mick Davis, this movie got respectable 6.9 mark on IMDb.
Also something of a rarity, even more so than his sculptures, are his landscapes of which there is really just a few, some say only four. Perhaps there were more among his earlier work, the one he destroyed himself in great extent. These are from 1919.
Not known to many, Amedeo also wanted to be a sculptor : for about a year he was a pupil of none other but great Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. During this time Amedeo produced some 25 sculptures, mainly heads. One of these heads was sold in 2010 on an auction for a price that made it second most expensive sculpture ever sold. That same year there was an exhibition in MART (Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto) Modigliani Sculptor.
Some of Amedeo’s sculptures were exhibited at 1912 Salon d’Automne but by 1914 he gave up on sculpture altogether.
Jeanne Hébuterne was a 19 year old art student in 1917, when she met Amedeo; being considered a beauty, by the time she met Modigliani she already posed for Tsuguharu Foujita, an interesting painter from Tokyo. Soon, she would not only become Amedeo’s main model and muse but also his love : inspite her parents’ protests they moved in together. By the end of 1918 they had a daughter named Jeanne. Jeanne was 8 months pregnant with their second child at the moment Modigliani died, practically in her arms. After his death she jumped from the window of her parents’ apartment, killing herself and their unborn child. Initially buried apart - which was the will of her family - they are now buried together in Père Lachaise Cemetery : her remains were moved to join his some 10 years after their death with these epithaphs : Struck down by Death at the moment of glory, for him and Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice, for her.
There were three important women in Modigliani’s life, among very many : Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, whom he met in 1910 and had one year very turbulent relationship - until she had decided upon returning to her husband; the famous Jeanne Hébuterne, who was his wife and whom he met in 1917; and, between them one Beatrice Hastings who stayed with him for about two years and is featured on very many of his paintings.
Beatrice Hastings was the pen name of an English writer, poet and literary critic whose real name was Emily Alice Haigh; she was a bisexual who also had relationships with women. She shared an apartment with Amedeo between 1914 and 1916, during which she was also his main model.
In 1916 Modigliani met Leopold Zborowski who soon became his close friend and primary art dealer : he was the one who organized the only solo exhibition that Amedeo had during his life. This Leopold, who was a Polish poet as well as art dealer, and his wife Anna are among the most frequently painted portraits by Modigliani in his later years. No wonder since Leopold had such affection for Modigliani that he even let him use his apartment, payed him to paint and even helped him find models and commissions. Unfortunately although Modigliani turned to be a good investment for Leopold, he lost his fortune during 1929 crisis and died as poor as his one time friend.
Upon arriving in Paris Amedeo is said to have been a bit of a loner, at first; an isolated figure that went about a lot, sketching all day, drinking moderately and then painting in his somewhat posh studio in Montmartre. Within a year this changed completely; not only that he was to become one of the wildest bohemians and drinkers - sometimes even making such spectacles of himself as stripping naked - but also made quite a few painter friends. Among these he was the closest to Chaim Soutine and poor crazy Maurice Utrillo; of Picasso he at first had said that he was a genius, but he despised Pablo’s choice of wearing workman’s clothes; he was somewhat of a shabby dandy himself. He painted many of them, some quite a few times.
What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race. — Amedeo Modigliani
Birthday to now very much loved Amedeo Modigliani who during his short life never managed to sell a painting for a respectable sum; more than that - he had only one exhibition and often traded his work for meals or drinks. He died in poverty of tuberculosis which haunted him since he was 16; his lack of money and fondness for alcohol and narcotics aided his early demise. Quite ironic really, when we remember that story how by being born on a certain day he saved his family of bankruptcy : his mother went into labour just as creditors came to take all of their possessions; however the law was such that it was not allowed to take a bed under a woman in labour and so the family threw all the valuables on Amedeo’s birth bed ;)
He was a sickly child that considered himself an artist quite early on : his mother prompted him to get better by promising him trips through Italy, especially Florence. A gifted boy he soon proved worth of artistic investments : he was somewhat of a teacher’s pet; he called him no less than a Superman, supposedly for quoting Nietzsche :)
He arrived in Paris at the same time as Juan Gris, in 1906; within a year Amedeo became a true bohemian known to half of Paris, a drug addict and a drunk. Some think that the way Amedeo presented himself was a way to hide his sickness, the tuberculosis he first experienced in Venice, when he was just 16. As a carrier of this disease he would be feared and isolated in artistic circles. Be it as it may it is sure that few people knew of his condition, that was in constant remission and recurrence. His nickname Modi, translating as cursed(maudit), was quite fit for the legend of the cursed, doomed artist that since then has formed around him.