Born: 12 July 1884
Died: 24 January 1920 (tuberculous meningitis)
Birthplace: Livorno, Italy
Best known as:
The Italian-born French artist who painted long-necked women
Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian-born artist who spent his career in France, where he first became known for his distinctive portraits featuring elongated figures. From a Jewish family in Livorno, Modigliani made his way to Paris in 1906, having studied art since he was in his teens. Influenced by Constantin Brancusi, Modigliani sculpted between 1909 and 1914, then went back to painting. Influenced by French moderns, he painted mostly portraits and nudes -- long-necked women with attenuated features. His first one-man show in Paris was in 1917 (it was closed down the first day, but reopened once he'd removed paintings considered obscene), but Modigliani was known less for his painting than for his carousing around Montparnasse. He drank to excess, smoked hashish and seduced women, finally settling down with painter Jeanne Hebuterne. They had a daughter and a child on the way when Modigliani died at the age of 35, succumbing to the tuberculous meningitis that had plagued him for years. The next day, Hebuterne killed herself and her unborn child by falling out a window.
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