Tragically, Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis on the 24th January 1920, aged just 35.
What is equally as tragic is that his wife, and muse, Jeanne Hébuterne, was so devastated that the following day she threw herself from the 5th floor of her parents’ home, killing herself and her unborn second child.
Fortunately, their first child, Jeanne Modigliani (1918 – 1984), was adopted by Amedeo’s sister and was brought up in Florence, Italy.
I was first introduced to Modigliani’s work by my mate, Markham, who very kindly gave me a sumptuously framed print of this piece…
As you can see, Modigliani was very heavily influenced by African masks and sculpture, creating elongated forms and mask-like faces.
He died a pauper. But, as is the way of the world, in 2010 “La belle Romaine” sold for $69 million.
His work inspired me to write a short story, and subsequent screenplay, entitled: “Jeanne, reclining nude, 1917”, about a First World War veteran recuperating in the South of France after losing his left hand.
It isn’t a biographical piece, but moreover, explores the themes of physical and emotional cripples when he begins a relationship with his prostitute model.
He was an extremely prolific artist, so if you get the chance to see any of his work in the flesh, I urge you to do so.