Modigliani the Sculptor

Modigliani the Sculptor

Modigliani the Sculptor

Modigliani the Sculptor

Synopsis

"Sculpture was his main passion, his real vocation", says Bernard Dorival, art historian and Director of the Muse'e National d'Art Moderne in Paris about Amedeo Modigliani. The persons closest to the artist in his life were aware that his supreme yearning was to realize himself not as a painter but as a sculptor. Yet he has been generally known to the public as a painter.

This is the first book on Modigliani's sculpture that has ever been published and it is the hope of the publishers that this deeply significant part of Modigliani's work will now become better known to lovers of art. The surviving works of sculpture are very few. With the exception of those which could not be traced or for which permission to reproduce was not granted, they are all represented here by one or more photographs.

The twenty-six caryatids included in the book are reproductions of drawings-in gouache, pencil, water color, and mixed media-intended by Modigliani as preparation for a great series of sculptured caryatids that he dreamed of producing. They form an important part of his sculptural vision, even though, except for the stone caryatid now in the Museum of Modern Art, he never managed to translate them into actual sculpture. Thus, we hope that this large selection of variations upon a single basic image may help to promote insight into the workings of Modighani's imagination as a sculptor and into the values he was trying to achieve.

Dr. Werner's essay conveys the vitality of Modigliani's art. He treats Modigliani's career, setting the sculptural output in the framework of Modigliani's whole effort. He provides a richly circumstantial account of the relationship between Modigliani the sculptor and Modigliani the painter. When one has read this essay, one can understand the paradox of Modigliani the sculptor. For there is a paradox. Most of Modigliani's sculpture was produced within a period of five years prior to the outbreak of the First World War. Afterwards, he abandoned sculpture for painting, in the end even ceasing to think of himself as a sculptor.

If this book helps to restore unity to a vision disrupted by the circumstances of Modigliani's life, it will be worth the effort to all who have contributed to it.

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