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Modigliani: A new exhibition at the Musée de l'Orangerie

What would have become of Modigliani without his art dealer Paul Guillaume?
The original exhibition « Amedeo Modigliani, un peintre et son marchand », from September 20, 2023 to January 14, 2024, is presented at L'Orangerie, located not far from the Relais Madeleine. A century after their meeting, this exhibition explores the links between the artist and his patron.

Modigliani in Paris

Amedeo Modigliani arrives in Paris in 1906. He was 22 years old. With a small sum of money in his pocket, he moved into a hotel near the Madeleine. He then took a studio on rue Caulaincourt, in the place called “maquis de Montmartre”. Oscillating, like many artists of the period, between Montmartre and Montparnasse, he made appearances in places frequented by artists, such as the Bateau-Lavoir and the Lapin Agile. Evicted several times from 1909 onwards due to unpaid rent, he moved from one lodging to another, and his life soon became a wandering one. Damaged by alcohol, drugs and difficult relationships, Amedeo Modigliani was the embodiment of the tormented artist. In his darkest hours, his salvation was Paul Guillaume, a great collector of African art. They met in 1914.

Paul Guillaume, left, and Amedeo Modigliani in Nice in 1917

Modigliani's gallery owner

Paul Guillaume became Modigliani's gallery owner in 1915. The painter and the dealer frequented the artistic and literary circles of Paris, and shared common tastes. Paul Guillaume encouraged Modigliani, tried to make him known and to sell his paintings. He continued to promote his protégé even as Modigliani met another major dealer.
All the works presented in this exhibition have a close connection with Paul Guillaume. Around a hundred paintings have passed through his hands, as well as a dozen sculptures and some fifty drawings.

Paul Guillaume – 1915
The inscription "Novo Pilota" in the lower left-hand corner of the portrait suggests the painter's high expectations of his gallery owner. Paul Guillaume is seven years younger than Modigliani. With his refined looks and physique, he seems an aesthete. He had intuition and genius. When Modigliani died in 1921, worn out by alcohol, drugs and tuberculosis, he had made a fortune thanks to his dealer.

Modigliani's influences and confluences

Head of a Woman - Marble - Circa 19013

The early 20th century was marked by a growing interest among Western artists in primitive art, whose values and forms were considered original. Modigliani's classical education in Florence and Venice was overturned when, in 1908, he discovered ancient Egyptian reliefs and archaic Greek statuettes in the Louvre, Ivory Coast masks and Angkor temple fragments in the Musée du Trocadéro.

Lola de Valence - 1915

When Paul Guillaume opened his gallery in 1914, he simultaneously exhibited African sculptures and modern paintings. At the same time, Modigliani frequented the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro, demonstrating his interest in the art it conveyed.

The signature Modigliani

Modigliani's subjects often seem to express solitude, unless the artist deliberately wished to depersonalize his models, as if to mask them.

Young girl with striped blouse – 1917

Young brown girl seated – 1918

Young brown girl seated – 1918

Interacting with art

The Musée de l'Orangerie invites young and old alike to interact with a range of equipment made available to visitors.

The exhibition is a unique opportunity to discover or rediscover the works of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. It's also a look at one of the most fruitful artistic relationships of the early 20th century. A must-see!

​Musée de l’Orangerie
Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm - Nocturne until 9:00 pm on Fridays​

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