Visu­al Arts

Modigliani Unmasked

Mason Klein
  • From the Publisher
November 30, 2017

One of the great artists of the 20th cen­tu­ry, Amedeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920) is cel­e­brat­ed for rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing mod­ern por­trai­ture, par­tic­u­lar­ly in his lat­er paint­ings and sculp­ture. Modigliani Unmaskedexam­ines the artist’s rarely seen ear­ly works on paper, offer­ing rev­e­la­to­ry insights into his artis­tic sen­si­bil­i­ties and con­cerns as he devel­oped his sig­na­ture style of grace­ful, elon­gat­ed fig­ures.

An Ital­ian Sephardic Jew work­ing in turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry Paris, Modigliani embraced his sta­tus as an out­sider, and his ear­ly draw­ings show a marked aware­ness of the role of eth­nic­i­ty and race with­in soci­ety. Plac­ing these draw­ings with­in the con­text of the artist’s larg­er oeu­vre, Mason Klein reveals how Modigliani’s pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with iden­ti­ty spurred the artist to recon­ceive the mod­ern por­trait, argu­ing that Modigliani ulti­mate­ly came to think of iden­ti­ty as beyond nation­al or cul­tur­al bound­aries. Lav­ish­ly illus­trat­ed with the artist’s paint­ings and over one hun­dred draw­ings col­lect­ed by Dr. Paul Alexan­dre, Modigliani’s close friend and first patron, this book pro­vides an engag­ing and long over­due analy­sis of Modigliani’s ear­ly body of work on paper.

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