By Jeffrey Meyers
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151011780, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 2006
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In 1920, at the age of thirty-five, Amedeo Modigliani died in poverty and neglect in Paris, much like a figure out of La Boheme. His life had been as dramatic as his death. An Italian Jew from a bourgeois family, "Modi" had a weakness for drink, hashish, and the many women-including the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova-who were drawn to his good looks. His friends included Picasso, Utrillo, Soutine, and other important artists of his day, yet his own work stood apart, generating little interest while he lived. Today's art world, however, acknowledges him as a master whose limited oeuvre-sculptures, portraits, and some of the most appealing nudes in the whole of modern art-cannot satisfy collectors' demand.
With a lively but judicious hand, biographer Jeffrey Meyers sketches Modigliani and the art he produced, illuminating not only this little-known figure but also the painters, writers, lovers, and others who inhabited early twentieth-century Paris with him.
Jeffrey Meyers is the author of numerous books on literature, film, and art, including biographies of Katherine Mansfield, Joseph Conrad, and Somerset Maugham. He lives in Berkeley, California..
PRAISE FOR IMPRESSIONIST QUARTET
"[Meyers] brilliantly interweaves complex issues of personal relationship, artistic creativity, critical reception, historical events, and widely divergent social and economic backgrounds. [He] remains a master of illuminating detail, but never sacrifices his quest for vivid personal and artistic characterization."--Marvin Eisenberg, professor emeritus of history of art, University of Michigan