He concludes that Modigliani had peaked and his style was not likely to grow or change. It may sound like a clinical soap opera story but in Secrest's learned and highly respected hands a new vision of the life of Modigliani surfaces, making way for a closer appreciation of his art. His life had been as dramatic as his death. War The eruption of World War I in 1914 marked the beginning of yet another difficult period for Modigliani, whose perpetually poor health was exacerbated by his continued substance abuse and tumultuous romantic life. Amedeo Modigliani created a unique style, corresponded to his idea of beauty, conceived as essential and minimalist, and mostly recognizable in the luscious and sensual female subjects usually depicted with slender and sinuous bodies, long and thin necks and almond-shaped eyes.
He wanted to sculpt, but because of costs and time, painting became more practical. Meyers seemingly left no source untapped in his research and writing. Secrest's main thesis seems to be I found this book very well-written, and the subject fascinating. And throughout, we see the Paris that Modigliani lived in, a city in dynamic flux where art was still a noble cause in a transforming revolution. Amedeo Modigliani is often portrayed as one --a ringleader, even-- of the unstable, unwashed, absinthe-soaked madmen that terrorized Montmartre in the name of Art. The hand to mouth existence meant little food and no heat in the winter.
Jeffrey Meyers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has recently been given an Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Vera Funaro Modigliani carried on the legacy of her husband and created the Modigliani Foundation, with the objective of documenting the history of this post-unification political circle, and of studying the contribution of Italian Jews to the history of socialism, labor unionism and democracy. She in turn was so distraught that, despite being nine months pregnant, she threw herself from a fifth-story window, killing herself and their unborn child. Despite Secrest's best efforts, I see him as no more than a Very Good Artist. The author has written 10 biographies so she knows what she's doing, but she gives us more details than you'd ever care to know. Painters could change their style to more interpretative portraits.
Meryle Secrest's most interesting insight, in my opinion, was the way in which Modigliani's need to keep his illness secret - to wear a mask - informed and influenced his art. Modi was near death at that point in time, less than a year away from his ultimate demise, but her description gives you some idea of the allure he had with women. This work describes the squalor Modigliani fantastically endured, dispelling romantic notions about starving artists and exposes the wretchedness of Modigliani's life versus the transcendent beauty of his art. It is a fine mix, the creative writing being enhance by the art instead of the usual 'byline' format many biographical works assume. He created his characteristic nude in a variety of ways: by imitating the poses of great paintings, by using a sensuous line to define the form of the body; by stripping his nude of virtually all context and attributes in order to focus on the essential female; by following Gauguin, in using a darker, more realistic skin color and frankly showing pubic hair; and by establishing intimacy with, rather than creating distance from, his nudes.
His good looks and artist style drew many women to his flame. He was filled with contradictions and wracked by recurring illness - tuberculosis - which he self-medicated with alcohol and various drugs. Similarly, there is no significant meaning-- no overriding event or drama that shapes the content or execution, because it is nearly always the same content, and similar execution. There is the Italianate sensuality of the forms and the line, rather than the furious French modernism of the day. His life had been as dramatic as his death. In 1920, he died in Paris at the age of 35.
In addition, for good and bad, the author works hard to correct the historical record that Modigliani was a drunken soot. Today's art world, however, acknowledges him as a master whose limited oeuvre-sculptures, portraits, and some of the most appealing nudes in the whole of modern art-cannot satisfy collectors' demand. I came to it initially after seeing a rather bad movie on the artist, which piqued my curiosity, mainly because nothing and no-one can make Modigliani boring. One major editorial shortcoming of a book about an artist is that its 37 black-andwhite, small-sized plates, while numbered in the front matter, are clustered, unnumbered and unpaged mid-volume; each time an art work is analyzed in the text, the reader scrambles to find its facsimile, not knowing if it even appears in the book. But I had an interest in Rodgers to start with. Not only did he portray anonymous models, but, most of all, he portrayed his friends and acquaintances, including the writer Béatrice Hastings, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship, and the leading figures of the Parisian avant-garde: Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Chaïm Soutine, Jacques Lipchitz and many others. Today's art world, however, acknowledges him as a master whose limited oeuvre-sculptures, portraits, and some of the most appealing nudes in the whole of modern art-cannot satisfy collectors' demand.
He began to study painting at age 14 and displayed immense talent. The E-mail message field is required. Nude Sitting on a Divan 1918 one of my favorites. In Modigliani's case, all I knew was that he did paintings of long-necked women with almond-shaped faces, and my attitude was pretty much that if you've seen one of those paintings, you've seen them all. This is no reflection on Secrest; in fact, it is to her credit that she does not try to gloss over her subject's faults and failings, presenting us with a richly nuanced and detailed portrait of a complex artist. All else was either pleasure, pain, joy, sorrow, distraction or inspiration but creating art was at the center of his being. What she delivers is an absorbing read, complete with a lively depiction of the Parisian art scene.
He was from an aristocratic not fully wealthy, but comfortable family from Livorno. Did, didn't, really did, did a lot. I haven't finished reading this latest biography of Modigliani and does not yet feel definitive. I think it's the better way to approach things, since it ties together so much of the spirit of the place and time. In 1920, at the age of thirty-five, Amedeo Modigliani died in poverty and neglect in Paris, much like a figure out of La Boheme. The young artist barely survives typhoid fever and tuberculosis.
What this book did do was make me realize that, the necessity of health insurance reform aside, as far as public health goes, we are very lucky. Her book is very well populated with family and descendants who wish the madman legend was not so. His friends included Picasso, Utrillo, Soutine, and other important artists of his day, yet his own work stood apart, generating little interest while he lived. It is begins with solid biographical material on his childhood and ends with a strong report on his death and aftermath. So when the bound galley of this book showed up, I decided I'd check it out to see why Modigliani deserved a biography.