PRINT September 1963


Alfred Werner’s Modigliani the Sculptor

Alfred Werner, Modigliani the Sculptor (New York: Arts, Inc.), 1962. 120 pages, illus.

ART HISTORY IS ONE of the few fields re­maining in which everything is yet to be done. It is therefore no surprise that this book, published in 1962, should be the first book ever published on Modig­liani’s sculpture.

The artist who is both painter and sculptor is rapidly disappearing—there seems to be a persistent feeling that an artist who is good at the one cannot possibly be very good at the other. Those painters who have produced sculpture in recent times, have done so clearly as a secondary activity. Not the least surprising aspect of Dr. Werner’s excellent introductory essay, therefore, is his suggestion, backed up by con­siderable evidence that Modigliani con­ceived of himself primarily as a sculp­tor and was more drawn to that medium than to painting.

The twenty-five works reproduced—his total known output is not much larger—are strikingly beautiful. Many of them are photographed from several vantage points. The photographs in gen­eral, however, are not ideal, employing highly dramatized lighting and failing to communicate any sense of scale.

Philip Leider