Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born on 12 July 1884, in Livorno, Italy. He was exposed to philosophy, history and art from a young age through his grandfather, Isaac Garsin, and, as a sickly adolescent who was regularly bedridden for long periods, read Dante, Nietzsche, Bergson and Baudelaire amongst others. In 1898, Modigliani started taking drawing lessons from Guglielmo Micheli, whose studio he joined the following year. He contracted tuberculosis in 1900, and travelled around Italy (Naples, Capri, Amalfi, Rome, Florence, Venice) with his mother during his convalescence. In 1902, Modigliani enrolled at the Academia di Belle Arti, Florence, studying sculpture; from 1903 to 1905, he lived in Venice, studying at the Institute di Belle Arti.


In 1906, Modigliani moved to Paris where he would settle in Montmartre and enrol at the Académie Colarossi. He swiftly discovered the work of Pablo Picasso at Galerie Berthe Weill, and, with his studio near the Bateau-Lavoir, met André Derain, Kees van Dongen, Francis Picabia, Juan Gris, André Salmon, Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire. Modigliani exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1907 and the Salon des Indépendants in 1908. Meanwhile, he met Paul Alexandre, who became his first patron and close friend, and Constantin Brâncuși, who inspired Modigliani to focus on sculpture and pursue the ‘essential line’. In 1909, Modigliani moved to Montparnasse, where he met Robert Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger and Chaïm Soutine. He exhibited sporadically at the Salon des Indépendants (1910, 1911) and Salon d’Automne (1912, 1919), and produced a series of sculptures of heads, standing figures and caryatids between 1909 and 1914.


Modigliani met Paul Guillaume in 1914, who would encourage him to return to painting and become his principal dealer until 1916. It was around this time that Modigliani developed his unique, linear style, and executed numerous portraits of his friends and fellow artists. In 1916, he met Léopold Zborowski, who became his patron and dealer. In 1917, Zborowski organised Modigliani’s only solo exhibition of his lifetime at Galerie Berthe Weill, which featured works from a series of nudes he executed earlier that year. In 1918, Zborowski arranged for Modigliani and his recently pregnant girlfriend and most important muse, Jeanne Hébuterne, to leave Paris for the French Riviera, where they were joined by Soutine and Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita. Modigliani returned to Paris in 1919, and nine of his paintings featured in the Exhibition of French Art 1914-1919 at the Mansard Gallery, London. Amidst his declining health, poverty, alcoholism and drug use, Modigliani fells ill and died of tuberculosis on 24 January 1920, in Paris.


Modigliani’s work can be found in the following selected international collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM), Rome; Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM), Turin; Kunstmuseum Basel; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London; the Tate Collection, London.