The Albright-Knox Art Gallery will present a major
international exhibition of works by Italian master Amedeo Modigliani,
who helped spawn the modern art movement in early 20th century Paris. Modigliani and the Artists of Montparnasse - the first major Modigliani
exhibition in the United States in 40 years - will feature approximately
60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Modigliani, as well as
22 works by his contemporaries from the Montparnasse section of Paris,
artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Brancusi, and Soutine.
Organized by the Albright-Knox, a leading international center of modern
and contemporary art, the exhibition will include masterpieces from
renowned museums and private collections in America, Europe, and Japan.
Many of the works have never been seen in the United States.
In addition to the Albright-Knox, the lenders include Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago;
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Centre Georges
Pompidou, Paris; Musée Picasso, Paris; and Tate Modern, London.
Modigliani (1884-1920) was born into a Jewish family in the cosmopolitan
port town of Livorno, Italy, near Pisa. He moved to Paris in 1906 and
became a central figure of the Parisian avant-garde. Modigliani was
part of the first real international group of artists, a group that
forever changed the art world by using non-Western influences such as
African art in modernizing traditional subjects. Their works paved the
way for the next generation of modern artists. The exhibition will show
how Modigliani's art and life epitomize the diverse, multi-cultural
artistic approach that developed in Montparnasse, a bohemian Paris
neighborhood at the beginning of the twentieth century.
A master portraitist and sculptor, Modigliani is widely considered one
of the great modern European artists. He is known for his elongated and
sensuous portraits of women, including many exquisite female nudes. He
exhibited with Picasso at least eight times and was often the
"headliner" of their exhibitions. Modigliani accomplished much despite
personal struggles and a tragically short life, dying of tuberculosis at
Modigliani's inspiration came from a variety of western and nonwestern
sources, including African and Oceanic art, symbolism, fauvism, and
cubism, among many others. He also made a major contribution to modern
sculpture, producing carved stone heads that were influenced by African
masks, Egyptian art, medieval sculpture, and Michelangelo. Several of
these sculptures are included in the exhibition.
The exhibition will allow the Albright-Knox to feature several works
from its distinguished collection of modern art, including Modigliani's
Servant Girl, 1918; Marc Chagall's dream-like Peasant Life, 1925; Robert
Delaunay's dynamic Sun, Tower, Airplane from 1913; and Woman's Head,
1909, a boldly-modeled sculpture by Pablo Picasso.
Following the premiere in Buffalo, Modigliani and the Artists of
Montparnasse will be presented at two prestigious museums: the Kimbell
Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, February 9 to May 25, 2003; and the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, June 29 to September 28, 2003.
He took traditional subjects in art history and modernized them, thereby
underscoring their enduring appeal," said exhibition curator Dr. Kenneth
Wayne. "Like other avant-garde artists, Modigliani avoided naturalistic
depictions in favor of making something more imaginative and creative."
Albright-Knox Art Gallery Curator Dr. Kenneth Wayne organized the
exhibition and wrote the accompanying catalogue published by Harry N.
Abrams, Inc. /Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The 224-page volume includes
approximately 200 color and black-and-white illustrations and three
essays: Modigliani and Montparnasse; Modigliani and the Avant-Garde; and
Modigliani's Lifetime Exhibitions. The catalogue includes extensive new
material drawn from Dr. Wayne's more-than 15 years of research. He was
also very fortunate to interview one of Modigliani's last models,
Paulette Jourdain and to gain new insight into the artist's life and
The Boy, 1919
Collection Indianapolis Museum of Art