place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris
a photographic journey to discover the life of Amedeo Modigliani
The exhibit “The places of Modigliani. Tra Livorno e Parigi” is not a mere photographic exhibition. Its main aim is not that of showing the work of a photographer, rather that of telling, through daily life’s anecdotes and images of places today considered trivial and banal, the existence of one of the greatest artists of the european 20th Century.
The history and endeavor of Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), sometimes unlikely mythicized, is made of bistrot, streets, palaces, cafè, places, narrow ateliers, locations full of life and culture.
This is the reason why we wanted to retrace Modigliani’s itineraries in Livorno and Paris, inspecting how – and how much – such places changed in about a century of social, urban, economical and cultural transformations.
The exhibit, half way between a documentary and a reportage, illustrates how globalization sometimes wiped out culture in order to make place for banks, insurance agencies and restaurants. Some other times, instead leaving it to a condition of decay and neglect, or rather – on the opposite – to touristic policies whose only aim – or “fault” - is to undertone the once unique atmosphere of a location, making it a mere attraction for the quick getaway travelers.
For these reasons this exhibit is meant to be an homage to Amedeo Modigliani, to Paris and to Livorno, two completely different cities from many points of view, geographically far, but that still gave a lot to our “Dedo”. From fame to dishonor, from misery to wealth, from pain to love, from life to death.
In 2020 the project becomes multimedia and interactive. If you use a smartphone during your visit with an app that reads QR CODES, you can fully experience the atmospheres of Modigliani’s places and discover many curiosities.
Livorno, by the end of the 19th century counted around 100.000 inhabitants and was one of the biggest and most developped cities of Italy.
The trade business, especially the port's trades, were particularly florid and the city was experiencing centuries of uninterrupted economical and cultural development.
What Modigliani – briefly – lived was probably the last “gold” period of his city culture wise; the II World War led Livorno to an abrupt downfall from which it was never able to raise again.
The years between 19th and 20th century were those of Livorno as a seaside resort capital of the Belle Epoque, of Aldo Palazzeschi's summers at Bagni Pancaldi, of the first advertising bills (Leonetto Cappiello was from Livorno), Livorno prided itself for having more than 10 theaters, and in 1989 even the Lumière brothers choose as first stop-over of their european “tour” of their cinematograph. But Modigliani wanted more. In Livorno painting had a halt with the Macchiaioli, and he “couldn't stand” the landscape. Indeed it was also for this reason that Dedo left in 1906, heading to Paris, and ventured in a blind travel, but still full of hope and incredible dreams.
When Amedeo Modigliani arrived at Gare de Lyon in 1906, a fantastic new world, unknown till that day, appeared in front of his eyes. Paris, twenty-six hours of travel by train far from Livorno, had at the time almost three million inhabitants, and at Dedo's eyes the immense boulevards, the horse-omnibus, the trams, the noise of the first motor vehicles, the bistrot, the grey roofs, the crowds, had for sure remembered him of a Victor Hugo's novel. The ville lumière was lightened by 9622 lamppost and 500.000 light bulbs. Paris was the arts' european capital and Amedeo maybe didn't even know from where to start. The museums, the Salon des Independants, the Universal Exhibitions, the Louvre, the arts' galleries, the cafè's life... Everything for him was fresh and new.At that time the artistic life was still enclosed in the “suburban” district of Montmartre, where the Impressionists found their accommodations – and success – and where the avant-gardes' exponents, among which Pablo Picasso, Gino Severini, and Costantin Brancusi, used to frequent and start to experiment the first important steps of new pictorial styles. Only later, around the end of the first decade, Montparnasse became the new artists' district, at the exact opposite side of Paris' city center. And it is right there that Modigliani became a sort of myth, a legendary figure, appreciated by few and snubbed by too many.
In Paris Dedo loved beautiful and rich women, as well as models and prostitutes. He lived an unrestrained and poor life, embracing perfectly the bohémien style typical of the artists of such period.
Modigliani missed his city – and the toasts “to Livorno” made a proof of it – its light, the marine breeze, the 5&5 (bread and chickpea pie), the “cee” (eels' newborns), but Paris inevitably became his “reign”, the place that will change him forever and shape his artistic path.
via Roma 38 (Casa Natale)
via Gamerra (ex atelier di Guglielmo Micheli)
via Ernesto Rossi (Liceo Classico Niccolini Guerrazzi)
piazza Benamozegh (Sinagoga)
piazza Cavour (ex Caffè Bardi)
Scali degli Olandesi
via Gherardi del Testa (studio di Amedeo Modigliani)
2 passage de Dantzig (La Ruche)
14 rue Falguière (La citè Falguière)
21 avenue du Maine (mensa per artisti)
53 boulevard du Montparnasse (app. di B. Hastings)
6 rue Huyghens (studio di Emile Lejeune)
carrefour Vavin (cafè Le Dome - cafè La Rotonde)
rue de la Grande Chaumière (Academie de la Grande Chaumière, appartamento di Modigliani)
rue Vavin (negozio Lefebvre)
3 rue Campagne-Première (osteria Chez Rosalie)
9 boulevard Arago (La citè fleurie)
8bis rue Amyot (app. di Jeanne Hébuterne)
Jardin du Luxembourg
place de l’ Odèon (Théatre de l’Odèon)
6 rue de Tournon (hotel Montpensier)
rue Saints-Pères (galleria Laura Wilda)
rue Jacob (Hopital de la charité)
Cimitero di Père-Lachaise
50 rue Taitbout (galleria Berthe Weill)
52 rue Laffitte (galleria Lepoutre)
50 rue Saint-Georges (studio di André Warnod)
place Charles Dullin (app. di Paul Alexandre)
7 rue du Delta (villa di Paul Alexandre)
Stazione metro Barbès-Rochechouart
place Emile Goudeau (Le Bateau Lavoir)
7 place Jean-Baptiste Clément (studio di Modigliani)
place du Tertre
1 rue du Mont-Cenis (Hotel Bouscarat)
esplanade du Sacre-Coeur
13 rue Norvins (appartamento Beatrice Hastings)
22 rue des Saules (Lapin Agile)
Cimitero di Montmartre
39 Passage des Beaux-Arts (casa Modigliani)
3 rue Colonel Combes (studio de Souza)
216 boulevard Raspail (studio di Modigliani)
11 rue de la Grande Chaumière (Académie Colarossi)
exhibits... and other
5/12 May 2017
Antico Mercato delle Vettovaglie, Livorno
19 november/4 december 2016
Odyssée, Strasbourg (France)
9 avril/11 july 2015
La Torre di Abele, Torino
12 july 2015
Fortezza Vecchia - Sala della Cisterna, Livorno
21/22 mars 2015
Magazzini Palazzo delle Palle di Marmo, Livorno
nell'ambito della 23esima ed. Giornate di Primavera del Fai
10 january/15 february 2015
Blu Book - Palazzo Blu, Pisa
12 december 2014/6 january 2015
Casa Natale Amedeo Modigliani, Livorno
17 october/5 december 2014
Blu Book - Palazzo Blu, Pisa
12 july/10 august 2014
Bottega del Caffè, Livorno
Amedeo Modigliani is one of the most well-known artist of the 20th century. His fascinating and unique image, art wise, at the beginning of the century fixed a nonfading romantic and cursed image of the artist endowed with genius. Especially after his death, his life took on legendary notes, between myth and reality. After the first pictorial studies in Livorno, under the guidance of the post-macchiaiolo Guglielmo Micheli, once scholar of Giovanni Fattori, probably Modigliani's most important characteristic as an artist has paradoxically been his firm will on not taking part on any new expressive tendency. Those were the years of Post-Impressionism, of Fauves, of Cubism, but the livornese painter stood in his own way, away from them, taking an alternative, unique and personal path characterized by the sinuous line, oval faces and their enigmatic and apparently incomplete strokes.
Even when Modigliani switched to sculpture in 1909, he managed to pass a personal touch to his works. From stone blocks (or sometimes wood blocks) through the technique of sculpting with hammer and chisel, Modì realized caryatids and cuneiform faces shaped in hight, with slight necks, pronounced features (especially the nose), and elongated eyes without iris – characteristic he would later prosecute in many paintings.
Nonetheless Modì has never been properly understood. He had no success in life, and had very few real friends. Many were acute collectors (among those Paul Alexander, Paul Guillame and Leopold Zborowski), others were unappreciated artists as he was (in primis Utrillo and Soutine).
Amedeo Modigliani was likable, contentious, elegant, handsome, capable, touchy, sweet, generous, stubborn, easy to depression, proud, unlucky, self-destructive, incredibly brilliant. But his “fortune” started the exact day of his death, when everyone immediately went for buying those works of art that they won’t so much as look at it since a couple of hours before.
photos and tales by
LUCA DAL CANTO
Luca Dal Canto is a cinema director and photographer born in Livorno in the 1981. Among his jobs there are the short films “The wool coat” (Il cappotto di lana, 2012, 57 official selections and 16 prizes) and Two days in summer (”Due giorni d’estate”, 2014, 33 official selections and 1 prize) introduced at the Short F67th Festival of Cannes.
In his career he has collaborated with important Italian directors among which Enrico Oldoini, Daniele Luchetti, Sergio Rubini, Francesca Archibugi, Matteo Oleotto and Claudio Noce.
Associazione Culturale Bredenkeik
Associazione Culturale Franco Ferrucci
Momentum Galerie Paris
Associazione Livorno com'era
Comune di Livorno
Comune di Livorno
Ville de Paris
with the support
Francisco Javier Perez Rivera