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Amedeo Modigliani, Italian, 1884 - 1920

Made in France, Europe

c. 1914

Blue crayon, on beige wove paper

Sheet: 25 11/16 x 19 1/2 inches (65.2 x 49.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Arthur Wiesenberger, 1943

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african influence [x]   blue [x]   caryatid [x]   drawing [x]   female nude [x]   female subject [x]   nude [x]   sketch [x]   study [x]   stylized [x]  

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Modigliani settled in Paris in 1906 and participated in the lively artistic scene centered around the famous Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre, a complex of studios that included those of Picasso, Juan Gris, and Kees van Dongen. This study of a caryatid, perhaps for a sculpture that was never executed, shows the influence of the African masks that so fascinated many avant-garde artists of the time.

Additional information:
  • PublicationItalian Master Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    This drawing, one of Modigliani’s Caryatid studies done between 1909 and 1914, after he had established his residence in Paris, was evidently preparatory for a projected sculpture that was never executed. One reason that has been given for the fact that these icons exist mainly in drawing form is Modigliani’s well- documented physical weakness: he could conceive of a powerful three-dimensional form, in the present case stressed by the strong blue outline around the figure, but was unable to cut the stone. References in the literature to the artist’s having observed the facial conventions seen in so-called primitive images and particularly in African masks is borne out by the stylized eyes and nose of the woman represented here. At the same time, his academic training had prepared him to translate anatomical features and foreshortened limbs into his personal visual idiom. Modigliani’s former dealer Paul Guillaume was the first owner of this Caryatid drawing, a fact that attests to the importance the dealer accorded the sheet in the context of the artist’s work. The museum owns two other Caryatid drawings by Modigliani (1943-101-2; 1950-134-150). Mimi Cazort, from Italian Master Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2004), cat. 75.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 56, no. 268 (Winter 1961), cover ill.;
    Werner, Alfred. Modigliani the Sculptor. New York: Arts Inc., 1962, no. 69, pl. 69;
    Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurter Kunstverein. Amedeo Modigliani. Exhibition catalogue by Ewald Rathke. Frankfurt am Main: Frankfurter Kunstverein, 1963., no. 41;
    Russoli, Franco. Modigliani: Drawings and Sketches. Translated by John Shepley. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1969, no. 22;
    Düsseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen; Kunsthaus Zürich. Amedeo Modigliani: Malerei, Skulpturen, Zeichnungen. Exhibition catalogue by Werner Schmalenbach. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1990 [exhibition in 1991]., p. 13, ill. 3; p. 223, no. 132;
    Patani, Osvaldo. Amedeo Modigliani: catalogs generale, sculture e disegni, 1909-1914. Milan: Leonardo, 1992., no. 206, repro. p. 186.