Peace is back. In 1919, Amedeo Modigliani is again able to reveal the ideal woman, as in the time of his sculpted heads of 1911 and 1912. For a long time his weakened health prevents him from cutting the stone. The sensual nudes painted in 1917 and 1918 brought a sinuous outline of the women's body. Warm colors worked with an extreme care provide comfort and kindness that show to which extent the interpretation of that hypersensitive artist as a wild genius is wrong.
The portraits by Amedeo of his intimates are recognizable but they are not realistic because they must represent an absolute. Small in life, Jeanne is tall for Amedeo. Her green eyes become intensely blue to express innocence and fidelity. The arms become more elongated with gestures that are altogether expressive and quiet and above all typically feminine.
On June 21 in London, Sotheby's sells at lot 12 the portrait of Jeanne au foulard (with scarf), oil on canvas 92 x 54 cm painted by Amedeo in 1919. The press release of June 6 announced an expectation beyond £ 28M.
The muse does not laugh : her mouth is again sulky, as in her other portraits. The specificity of this artwork is in the eyes drawn with visible pupils, increasing the emotional presence of the young woman just as if Amedeo had just decided to abandon his signature uniformly blue eyes. This painting could be one of the last portraits of Jeanne.
1919 was a year of great creativity for Modigliani. Here are two results for less empathetic portraits with eyes full of sky : £ 27M including premium by Christie's on February 6, 2013 for Jeanne au chapeau with a protective gesture of the hand ; $ 43M including premium by Sotheby's on November 4, 2015 for Paulette in the stiff attitude of her 15 years old.
SOLD for £ 38.5M including premium
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's :