Amedeo Modigliani, a painter and a sculptor, was born July 2, 1884, in Livorno, Italy. He moved to Paris as a young, idealistic artist and met the likes of Pablo Picasso and other successful artists, but success and fame eluded him.
In his scant 36 years, Modigliani created a group of paintings, many of them portraits, which are now well known throughout the world. He was sickly throughout his life, abused alcohol and drugs and was impoverished. His beloved wife, Jeanne, committed suicide after his death.
Influenced by the linear designs of African sculpture, Modigliani’s portraits are unique, skillful and sensitive. Artists of the time were experimenting with impressionism, surrealism and cubism. Modigliani kept to an elegant style of his own with long gently curved lines and soft colors. His subject’s heads are sensitively tilted to one side on long, slender necks with sloping shoulders which gives them a delicate quality. The individuals he painted seem emotionally removed, with long thin noses and vacant eyes, but are painted with tenderness. He often painted women, with whom he held a great interest, and people who were sickly, not unlike himself.