etween 1911 and 1913, Amedeo Modigliani abandoned painting and dedicated himself to sculpture. These were the years in which the artist worked on a fresh synthesis between traditional elements and original figurative components. Like few other exponents of the artistic avant-garde movements of the 20th century, Modigliani learned from history and wove its lessons into his own personal language.
His sculptures are fundamental works, as this exhibition makes clear and documents for the first time, for understanding all of Modigliani’s development as artist.
Unlike his pictorial work, explored and presented in numerous exhibitions, Modigliani’s sculpture has hitherto been examined only by specialists, perhaps because of the few works the artists produced in this medium.
These are works of an appealing purity, masterly displays of enigmatic forms, as demonstrated by Ambrogio Ceroni, the scholar who first catalogued the artist’s sculptural work in 1965.
The exhibition at the Mart starts with this pioneering study, which is still fundamental today for an understanding of Modigliani’s sculptures. Basing himself on unpublished documents, Ceroni identified a total of 25 sculptures; of these, only 16 today belong to public collections, while the rest are lost or belong to inaccessible private collections.
The exhibition will present a third of the sculptures made by Amedeo Modigliani, on loan from some of the most important museums in the world, including the National Gallery of Washington, Tate London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Among these will be the Head of a woman of 1911, which has never before been loaned to any museum.
Among the most exciting results of this work of broad-ranging and direct academic documentation is the fact that with the “Modigliani Sculptor” exhibition, the official number of sculptures by the artist has been revised.
Intense critical and philological research has revealed that Modigliani in reality completed 28 sculptures. Ceroni’s list has been revised in the light of the identification and attribution of a further three Heads, not present at the Mart because their loan was not possible, but documented in every detail.
The importance of the “Modigliani Sculptor” exhibition does not lie solely in the exceptional nature of the event, however. The reconstruction on a scientific basis of a chapter in the artistic life of Modigliani that had hitherto remained a mystery, has a bearing also on Italian artistic culture.
Look at the set of images on flickr
A project planned and curated by Gabriella Belli, Flavio Fergonzi, Alessandro Del Puppo. With the collaboration of Clarenza Catullo.
With the support of an academic committe comprising Anna Ceroni, like Schmidt, Kenneth Wayne