Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Amedeo Modigliani - Portrait of Maude Abrantes (1907)

Following on from yesterday's post on Henri Toulouse-Lautrec here's Modigliani, i came across him through the potrait he'd painted of the godlike Blaise Cendrars, and in doing so found this portrait of Maude Abrantes, which is exceptional, the way he captures the tired hazy absinsth induced stupor that she submits herself to is quite spectacular.

During the 1920s, in the wake of Modigliani's career and spurred on by comments by AndrĂ© Salmon crediting hashish and absinthe with the genesis of Modigliani's style, many hopefuls tried to emulate his "success" by embarking on a path of substance abuse and bohemian excess. Salmon claimed—erroneously—that whereas Modigliani was a totally pedestrian artist when sober,

“ ...from the day that he abandoned himself to certain forms of debauchery, an unexpected light came upon him, transforming his art. From that day on, he became one who must be counted among the masters of living art.[14] ”

While this propaganda served as a rallying cry to those with a romantic longing to be a tragic, doomed artist, these strategies did not produce unique artistic insights or techniques in those who did not already have them.

In fact, art historians suggest[14] that it is entirely possible for Modigliani to have achieved even greater artistic heights had he not been immured in, and destroyed by, his own self-indulgences. We can only speculate what he might have accomplished had he emerged intact from his self-destructive explorations.

Here is the portrait he did of Blaise Cendrars

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