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    Sale 7736

    Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

    24 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 138

    Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)

    Nudo femminile seduto

    Price Realised  


    Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)
    Nudo femminile seduto
    signed 'Modigliani' (lower right)
    watercolour and pencil on paper
    21½ x 16¾ in. (54.6 x 42.6 cm.)
    Executed circa 1914-1916

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    The rapid, open mark-making and vital immediacy of Nudo femminile seduto reveals the fundamental place that drawing had in the genesis of Modigliani's pictorial language. His unique artistic vision found its definition by exploring the functional power of line and it was through studies such as the present work that he found new solutions to abstract formal issues. This concise yet elegant rendering acts to crystallize the female form into purely plastic, linear values whilst retaining a sense of human sentiment and the vitality of life. Indeed, the model's languidly tilted head and slightly parted mouth lends her a sensual grace that anticipates the great nude paintings with which Modigliani is most frequently associated and for which he is most celebrated.

    In the early stages of his career, from about 1910 to 1914, Modigliani hoped to establish his reputation as a sculptor marking the transition from sculpting back to painting by incessant drawing. The intensity of this preoccupation with sculptural form is revealed in the robust shapes of this seated model, whose limbs have been refined by searching pencil lines into clear, precise volumes. An interest in the effects of proportion and relief can also be seen in the selective use of incisive, bold marks and blocks of background shadow. This technique of managing solid and void also appears in a related drawing of a crouching nude from 1914, in which the contours of the body are similarly defined by dark zones of watercolour (Nu Assis, 1914, Museum of Modern Art, New York, inv. 29.1932).

    Whilst the subject of the nude evokes the great tradition of classical European art, the elemental simplicity of this figure represents a distillation of an eclectic range of visual references, including Cézanne's complex sense of space and mass, the abstract purism of Brancusi and the expressive energy of African and Oceanic tribal art. These influences are particularly evident in the planar distortions of the facial features and the blank, inscrutable eyes that lend the figure a detached air of self-absorption. In this way, Nudo femminile seduto fulfills Modigliani's aim to synthesize objective fact and individual characterization with an entirely original and personal mode of expression.

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    Lamberto Vitali, before 1930.
    Acquired from the above by the father of the present owner by 1955, and thence by descent.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the correct medium is brush and grey wash and pencil on paper, and not as stated in the catalogue.

    Pre-Lot Text



    R. Carrieri, 12 opere di Amedeo Modigliani, Milan, 1947 (illustrated).
    J. Lanthemann, Modigliani, 1884-1920. Catalogue raisonné, sa vie, son oeuvre complet, son art, Barcelona, 1970, no. 608 (illustrated p. 309).
    C. Parisot, Modigliani, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Peintures, dessins, aquarelles, Livorno, 1991, no. 28/14 (illustrated p. 359).
    O. Patani, Amedeo Modigliani, Catalogo generale, Sculture e disegni 1909-1914, Milan, 1992, no. 243 (illustrated p. 206).


    Milan, Casa della Cultura, Associazione fra gli Amatori e i Cultori delle Arti Figurative Contemporanee, Amedeo Modigliani, April - May 1946, no. 38 (illustrated).
    Livorno, Villa Fabbricotti, Presentazione di Disegni di Amedeo Modigliani, September - October 1955, no. 7 (illustrated as the frontispiece).
    Milan, Palazzo Reale, Amedeo Modigliani, November - December 1958, no. 101.
    Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Modigliani, January - February 1959, no. 93.
    Verona, Galleria dello Scudo, Modigliani, dipinti e disegni. Incontri italiani 1900-1920, February - March 1985, no. 22 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Turin, Palazzo Reale.
    Lugano, Museo d'arte Moderna della Città, Amedeo Modigliani, March - June 1999, no. 6 (illustrated p. 157).
    Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Modigliani, February - June 2006, no. 14 (illustrated p. 273).