Sex, Drugs & Art.
Painter & sculptor Amedeo Modigliani was born in Italy on July 12, 1884 and began painting at 14.
In 1903, he moved to Venice, where his talents as an artist continued to grow, but so did his appetites, and he was soon drinking heavily and smoking hash.
In 1906, Modigliani moved to Paris, which was the avant-garde center of Europe at that time, where he threw himself feverishly into his work, as well as continuing to pursue his other three passions; drugs, alcohol and women. He also became friends with fellow painter Pablo Picasso, sculptor Constantin Brancusi and poet Max Jacob.
Despite his prolific output in Paris, he was often forced to exchange his work for basic necessities. However, he was saved from utter destitution by the steady patronage of a young doctor named Paul Alexandre.
The eruption of World War I in 1914 marked the beginning of yet another difficult period for Modigliani, whose perpetually poor health was exacerbated by his continued substance abuse and tumultuous romantic life.
During the war, Modigliani also drew on his earlier training to create more than 30 female nudes. Berthe Weill featured them in her gallery in late 1917, in what would be the only solo exhibition of Modigliani’s work held during his lifetime. However, Modigliani was given little time to exult in the honor, as the police caught wind of the exhibition and shut it down for “indecency” on the day that it opened.
In 1918, Modigliani’s health continued to decline, he sought refuge from the war in Nice, with a young art student named Jeanne Hébuterne, with whom he had become involved the previous year. Their daughter, Jeanne, was born that November.
As his health worsened, he returned to Paris in 1919 and began a rapid decline. He died of tubercular meningitis in 1920, at the age of 35, while Hébuterne held him in her arms. She in turn was so distraught that, despite being nine months pregnant, she threw herself from a fifth-story window, killing herself and their unborn child.
Modigliani created hundreds of paintings, drawings and 31 sculptures in his brief 35 years.
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