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Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918

Amedeo Modigliani

Italian, 1884-1920
Oil on canvas
39-3/4 x 25-7/8 in. (101 x 65.7 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Amedeo Modigliani, born into a wealthy family in Italy, was stricken with illness early on in life. He managed to move to Paris by 1906 and often visited Picasso’s studio, but instead of being drawn into the Cubist aesthetic, took his artistic cues from early European medieval art as well as the art of several non-Western cultures. From these he drew on the stylized, linear simplifications that would characterize his nudes and his portraits. This is one of the latest depictions of his wife (1898–1920), whose soft features and quiet gaze are not easily distinguishable from the dozens of other three-quarter and bust-height portraits he completed. Stricken with tuberculosis and prone to abusing alcohol and drugs, Modigliani died at age 36, less than two years after this portrait was completed. Bereft, Jeanne killed herself two days later. She was pregnant with their second child.

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