Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Modigliani: A Life, Part I

Modigliani: A Life by Jeffrey Meyers (London: Duckworth Overlook, 2008; originally published in 2006) gives a lively account of the artist and his kaleidoscopic jumble of supportive family members, Bohemian friends and/or lovers (including Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, 1889-1966), and just about everything in between. Great stuff. "Modi" (1884-1920) was a hellion, certainly, before dying of consumption at thirty-five years old.

Among Modi's many running buddies in Paris were "eastern European Jewish artists [who] came from an austere religion, rich in Hebrew text and theology, but which, like Islam, proscribed graven images." (Modigliani, born in Livorno, Italy, was descended from Shephardic Jews, exiled for centuries from Spain).  "The Jewish artists who came to France . . . created more painting and sculpture in the twentieth century than all the painting and sculpture that Jews had produced since biblical times." That's quite a statement! (Meyers, Modigliani: A Life, page 113).
Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait of Juan Gris, 1915. (Source: Wiki Commons; original at Metropolitan Art Museum, NYC). Juan Gris (José Victoriano González, 1887-1927), born in Madrid, lived for a time in what is now Hotel Europa, Calle del Carmen, 4, just off Puerta del Sol. More on him soon, I suspect.

Today's Rune: Partnership.  


Tom Sarmo said...

The folks who burn bright and fast continue to fascinate. looking forward to reading this one--thanks for the rec!

Charles Gramlich said...

Not the same kind of artist but I'm reading Life by Keith Richards right now. Talks a lot about a kind of Bohemian world.

Luma Rosa said...

The same author, read about the life of Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote more than 20 biographies, among them Ernest Hemingway (archenemy Fitzgerald), DH Lawrence (another writer), Edmund Wilson (writer and friend of Scott), Edgar Allan Poe (writer and idol Fitzgerald) and others - analyst by you and have not seen the biography that quoted here. Only a matter of time. I think. :)
Have a good weekend!

the walking man said...

One destined for a short life better learn how to live fast.

Erik Donald France said...

Thank you all for the comments -- much appreciated ~!

Here's to Keith and all the rest ~ huzzah ~!