Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian Expressionist painter and sculptor primarily known for his famous nude paintings and portraits. He came into the world on 12 July 1884. Although he was not a famous artist in his lifetime, Modigliani’s reclining nude paintings have created auction house records. Modigliani paintings are amongst the most expensive ever sold.
A prosperous Sephardic Jewish family in Livorno, Italy, gave birth to Amedeo Modigliani. His father, Flaminio, was a thriving mining engineer. His mother, Eugenie, was also Sephardic and came from a family of moneylenders with businesses in multiple cities. When Modigliani was born, his family was bankrupt due to low metal prices. However, his mother started a successful school.
Modigliani was a sickly child taught at home in his early years. However, he always wanted to be a painter.
After his recovery from typhoid, Modigliani's mother took him to Florence to visit museums. She then enrolled him in the school of Guglielmo Micheli, the best painting master in Livorno. Amedeo Modigliani worked in the art school from 1889 to 1900, studying Renaissance paintings. However, his studies stopped when he contracted tuberculosis.
While in Rome in 1901, Modigliani admired the work of Domenico Morelli. The latter was part of a group of artists known as the Macchiaioli, coming from the Italian word for “a splash of color,” which pre-dated the French Impressionists. Modigliani art includes Landscape Paintings, portraiture, Still Life art, and paintings of nudes. In 1902 he enrolled at the Scuola Libera di Nudo, part of the Accademia di Belle Ari in Florence. He later moved to Venice to study and then to Capri, where his mother hoped he would recover from another bout of tuberculosis.
In 1906, Amedeo Modigliani moved to Paris, squatting in an artists’ commune in the Montmartre district. Within a year, he became an alcoholic and drug addict, cultivating this persona to mask his increasingly worse tuberculosis episodes. The disease was the biggest killer in France then, and those who had it were feared and avoided. By contrast, being a drunk, a drug user, and an artist was much more acceptable.
In Paris, Modigliani admired the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. However, in 1907 he became enamored by the work of Paul Cezanne. Although influenced by both artists, Modigliani developed the unique style for which he is famous. In 1909, Amedeo Modigliani concentrated on his sculptures. First, he created a limestone carving of a woman’s head called Tete with clear African influences. In June 2010, Tete was sold for $52 million, making it one of the most expensive sculptures sold by auction.
Amedeo Modigliani's famous nude paintings are some of the most recognizable artworks in the world. In 1916, Modigliani met the dealer Leopold Zborowski, who became a friend and mentor. Under Zborowski during 1916–1919, Modigliani painted his famous nude paintings. Zborowski commissioned the paintings; he also supplied models, oil paints, and the use of an apartment to be used as a studio.
One of the most famous Amedeo Modigliani paintings of many nude paintings is Nu Couche 1917, also known as Nude on Cushion. This painting sold at auction in New York in 2015 for $170 million. It set a record for a Modigliani painting and is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
Reclining Nude 1917 is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Nu Couche – Nude Looking Over Her Right Shoulder was sold to a private collector in 2018. Nu Couche by Amedeo Modigliani is one of our most popular painting reproductions.
In the spring of 1917, the Russian sculptor Chan Orloff introduced Modigliani to a young 19 year old art student named Jeanne Hebuterne. Within a year, Hebuterne and Modigliani lived together as man and wife. The couple had many friends, including Pierre Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, and Andre Derain.
Jeanne Hebuturne is the sitter in many Modigliani paintings. Jeanne Hebuterne with Yellow Sweater, Jeanne Hebuterne Sitting, and Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne Head in Profile are just three of Amedeo Modigliani’s better-known portraits. All Modigliani portraits have long necks identifiable with his famous paintings. Woman with Red Hair, 1917, is another famous Modigliani painting, although the sitter is not Jeanne Hebuterne.
Amedeo Modigliani was a prolific artist known to have sketched over 100 drawings daily in his most active years. However, he is also known to be very self-critical and destroyed most of his early works. In all, there are over 300 of his paintings in existence. Modigliani paintings were often given to his girlfriends, who used them to pay for food, drink, and drugs. As a result, Modigliani art is either lost or has been destroyed.
After many years of suffering from tuberculosis, alcoholism, and drug abuse, Modigliani died of his illness in January 1920. The art communities of Montmartre and Montparnasse attended the considerable funeral. At the time, Jeanne Hebuterne was eight months pregnant with their second child. After the funeral, Hebuterne went to her parent's house, where she threw herself out of a fifth-floor window, killing herself and the unborn child.
After his death, his fame increased significantly. As a result, there are now nine books, a play, a film, and three documentaries dedicated to his life. Enjoy Amedeo Modigliani paintings by browsing our catalog of oil paintings for sale. All your questions about our art reproductions are answered in our FAQ section.