Modigliani: A Bohemian Myth

November 3, 2005 – January 31, 2006

With this exhibition I wish to resurrect the tormented artist, the mysterious and sexy prophet, the creator of such irresistibly powerful art: Amedeo Modigliani. As one of many, I would like to pay tribute to him, the recognition he never had in his lifetime and I am convinced that the public will help me with this task:

A life marked by poverty, worry…by thirst for punishment and a willingness to become a target for the supposedly astute. Life of an artist, life of exultations! I shall not recount the picturesque and bohemianism of it, or the paradoxical and constant defiance of rule, or the absense of all traces of domesticity. But for all that, for all the defects and qualities, the taste for unhappiness and the exceptional, the torrent of graces, the deliriousness and the naughtiness, Modigliani leaves a void behind him that cannot soon be filled. –Francis Carco, obituary for A. Modigliani (1920)

Modigliani’s life, a life of torment and isolation, epitomizes the bohemian icon. He was the ultimate cultural rebel who found institutions of bourgeois society, both political and cultural, to be impediments on his freedom. He strived to separate himself from the tyranny of everyday life in his own ways by seeking pleasure, passion and self-expression through sex, drugs, alcohol and art itself. He suffered for art and the price he paid for his bohemian lifestyle was a tragic death.

As with every other legend, Modigliani’s truth and falsehood are defined by such a thin line that they are often intertwined and one needs a lot of time to try to distinguish the difference between them, with no guarantee of succeeding and no certainty that it’s always legitimate.

I am enthralled by the experience of showing such masterpieces to the public and I believe these works help demystify the life of Modigliani. By going beyond the myth; all that remains is the essential: His Art.

–Helly Nahmad