In 1906, Amedeo Modigliani moved to Paris, squatting in an artists’ commune in Montmartre, but able to rent a studio in a more prosperous area. 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.
Back in Paris 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.
In 1916, Modigliani met the dealer Leopold Zborowski, who became both a friend and mentor. Under Zborowski during 1916–1919, Modigliani painted his famous nude paintings. Zborowski commissioned the paintings, and he also supplied models, paints, and the use of an apartment to be used as a studio.
The most famous of the Amedeo Modigliani nude oil paintings in this series of several dozen nudes is Nu Couche. The painting sold at auction in New York in 2015 for $170 million. The price set a record for a Modigliani painting and is also one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
Modigliani painted many portraits of his contemporary artists and friends in Paris. Portrait paintings include Chaim Soutine, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Juan Gris, and Jean Cocteau.
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 is one of Modigliani’s most famous portrait subjects. Jeanne Hebuterne with Yellow Sweater, Jeanne Hebuterne Sitting, and Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne Head in Profile are just two of Amedeo Modigliani’s better-known portraits. All of Modigliani's portraits have long necks identifiable with his famous paintings.
Another of Modigliani’s famous portraits is Woman with Red Hair, 1917, although the sitter is not Jeanne Hebuterne.
Amedeo Modigliani was a prolific artist and is known to have sketched over 100 drawings a day in his most active years. However, he was also known to have been very self-critical and destroyed most of his early works.
In all, there are over 300 of his paintings in existence. However, this is often challenged as Modigliani is also one of the most forged artists.
Modigliani often gave his paintings to girlfriends who used them to pay for food, drink, and drugs, and as a result, the paintings were either lost or 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 huge 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.
Since Modigliani’s death, his reputation has increased to the point where there have been nine novels, a play, a documentary, and three movies about his life.
Enjoy Amedeo Modigliani painted nudes by browsing our catalog of oil paintings for sale.
Art reproductions are available in many sizes, including large canvas paintings for your home or office.