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Modigliani: New exhibition at the Orangerie

What would Modigliani's fate have been without the support of his art dealer, Paul Guillaume?
The groundbreaking exhibition "Amedeo Modigliani, un peintre et son marchand" (Amedeo Modigliani, a painter and his dealer), 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, it explores the links between the artist and his patron.

Modigliani in Paris

In 1906, at the age of 22, Amedeo Modigliani arrived in Paris with a small sum of money in his pocket. He took up residence in a hotel near the Madeleine before renting a studio on rue Caulaincourt, in the heart of the "Montmartre maquis". Like many artists of the period, he oscillated between Montmartre and Montparnasse, frequenting venues favored by his peers, such as the Bateau-Lavoir and the Lapin Agile. His troubles with Parisian life began in 1909, with evictions due to unpaid rent, and the result was an existence marked by wandering. Weakened by drink, drugs and tumultuous relationships, Amedeo Modigliani embodied the stereotype of the tormented artist. However, in his darkest hour, his salvation came from a chance meeting with Paul Guillaume, a prominent collector of African art, in 1914.

In 1917, in Nice, Paul Guillaume (left) and Amedeo Modigliani

Modigliani's gallery owner

In 1915, Paul Guillaume became Amedeo Modigliani's official gallery owner. At the time, the painter and art dealer were frequent visitors to Paris's artistic and literary circles, sharing artistic affinities. Paul Guillaume actively supported Modigliani, seeking to make him known and to sell his works. He continued to promote the artist even when Modigliani began collaborating with another major dealer. All the works presented in this exhibition have a close connection with Paul Guillaume. Around a hundred canvases passed through his hands, along with 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 great hope the painter placed in his gallery owner. Paul Guillaume, seven years younger than Modigliani, stood out for his elegant appearance and refined bearing, giving the impression of an aesthete. Gifted with intuition and genius, he played a crucial role in Modigliani's life. When the artist died in 1921, weakened by alcohol, drugs and tuberculosis, he had amassed a fortune thanks to his dealer.

Modigliani's influences and confluences

Head of a Woman - Marble - Circa 19013

The early 20th century witnessed a growing interest among Western artists in primitive art, perceived as the bearer of original values and forms. The classical education Modigliani had received in Florence and Venice underwent a profound transformation as early as 1908, when the artist discovered reliefs from Ancient Egypt, statuettes from archaic Greece, masks from the Ivory Coast, and fragments from the Angkor temple at the Trocadero museum in the Louvre.

Lola de Valence - 1915

From the inauguration of his gallery in 1914, Paul Guillaume simultaneously presented African sculptures and modern paintings. At this time, Modigliani was a frequent visitor to the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro, demonstrating his deep interest in the art it conveyed.

The style Modigliani style

The subjects chosen by Modigliani frequently seem to evoke solitude, unless the artist deliberately sought to depersonalize his models, as if he wished to mask them.

Young girl with striped blouse - 1917


Woman with velvet ribbon - circa 1915

Young brown girl seated – 1918


The Musée de l'Orangerie encourages visitors of all ages to interact with the equipment provided.

L'exposition offre une opportunité exceptionnelle de (re)découvrir les œuvres d'un des artistes les plus marquants du 20ème siècle, tout en explorant l'une des relations artistiques les plus productives du début du siècle dernier. À ne pas manquer !

​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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