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Modern Gazes

Modigliani in Stuttgart and Potsdam

Famous primarily for his elegantly stylized nudes & his elongated portraits, Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) counts among the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. He received traditional academic art training in Italy, but after moving to Paris in 1906, at the age of 21, his eyes were opened to new ways of working. In 1909, Modigliani briefly turned his attention to sculpture, creating a body of work that would influence his wider practice. When he returned entirely to painting in 1915 his experience as a sculptor of abstracted, elongated heads was echoed in his subsequent figure & portrait paintings. In 1917 he began a series of some three dozen female nudes that, with their warm colours & sensuous, rounded forms, are among his best works. Modigliani died at the age of 35, deeply impoverished. Some 96 years later, his painting Nu couché sold for a whopping $170 million.

Amedeo Modigliani: Female Nude Reclining on a White Pillow
Reclining Female Nude on a White Cushion (c. 1917)

The exhibition Modigliani — Modern Gazes, on display at the State Gallery in Stuttgart until 17 March 2024, and at Museum Barberini in Potsdam from 27 April to 18 August 2024, presents an overview of Modigliani’s oeuvre, showing some fifty of his works, together with around thirty more paintings, drawings, prints & sculptures by contemporary artists of classical modernism, including Gustav Klimt, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wilhelm Lehmbruck and Egon Schiele. Modigliani’s paintings were long interpreted in the tradition of scandal, as expressions of a male artist’s lustful view. The exhibition argues that rather than a male gaze, Modigliani, now seen as the chronicler of a growing female self-confidence in the years before & during the First World War, had a modern gaze, and that his work must be reassessed in this context. But of course the gaze is in the eye of the beholder, and visitors to the exhibition are free to exercise any form of gazing that they desire.

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On until 15 January, the exhibition Amedeo Modigliani: A painter and his dealer at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris revisits one of the iconic moments in Modigliani’s life, the one in which Paul Guillaume became his dealer, exploring how links between the two characters threw light on the artist’s career.


In December 1917, Modigliani staged his first and, in his lifetime, only solo exhibition, at the Gallery Berthe Weill in Paris’ 9th arrondissement. The police were so scandalized by the erotic nudes in the gallery window that they ordered the canvasses removed the very day the exhibition opened to the public.


The exhibition Modigliani — Modern Gazes at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart has been extended till 1 April.