Born in Livorno, Italy, on the coast of Tuscany, Modigliani moved to Paris in January 1906, where he quickly fell in with Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, and the other artists and writers of the Bateau-Lavoir studios in Montmartre. Here his Sephardic-humanist upbringing met with the equally eclectic interests of his peers, giving rise to a distinctive style of portraiture influenced by a wide variety of historical and cultural sources. This elegant portrait of the artist’s girlfriend, possibly painted at the Montparnasse apartment that the couple shared from 1917 to 1920, reveals Modigliani’s appreciation for Italian Renaissance painting and African sculpture, as well his lasting connection to the Cubist movement.
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