new-york

Modigliani

Acquavella Galleries

Modigliani was the first painter who turned me off. Suffice it to say that at whatever age I saw my first Modigliani I was artificially traumatized. I still think Modigliani weak, easy, shamelessly mannered, and irredeemably bourgeois. He seems to have the lowest IQ of any modern artist except Rousseau (who loved beauty) or Chagall (who at least looks like he enjoyed painting). The only thing by him I have ever liked or respected is a beautiful figure drawing owned by Columbia University, which is well-knit and done with verve. Otherwise I have so unwaveringly disliked Modigliani that whenever I encounter praise of his work I suspect a boondoggle.

I can’t say that I’ve been converted, although in some discrete cases I see more than I had expected, the oeuvre as a whole looks more inflated than ever. First, Modigliani seems to have tried everything—I mean really everything—before hitting on

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