"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.
The publishers wish to express their gratitude to the many persons and institutions who permitted them to reproduce these works. They are under special obligation to those who provided photographs, among them are included: Mr. Edgardo Acosta, the Edgardo Acosta Gallery, Beverly Hills; Mr. and Mrs. James W. Alsdorf, Winnetka, Illinois; Mr. and Mrs. John Cowles, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mr. Jean Masurel, Roubaix, France; Mr. and Mrs. Chester Dale, New York City; Mr. and Mrs. Deltcheff, Paris; Mrs. Nelson Gutman, Baltimore, Maryland; Mr. and Mrs. Morton D. May, St. Louis, Missouri; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., St. Louis, Missouri; Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Ring, Washington, D. C.; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City; the Hanover Gallery, London; the Marion Koogler MeNay Art Institute, San Antonio, Texas; the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Norton Gallery and School of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; and the Tate Gallery, London.