Amedeo Modigliani 1884-1920 BACK

Seated Young Woman
oil on canvas 91x53cm
Private Collection

Modigliam was well aware, of course, that the motif of eyes 'painted shut' also occurs many times in Uzanne. Modigliam's friend Chaim Soutine reports him as having made the following rather obscure statement: 'Cezanne's faces, like the beautiful statues of antiquity, have no gaze. Mine, on the other hand, do gaze. They gaze, even where I have decided not to paint any pupils; but, like the faces of Uzanne, they express nothing but a mute concord with life.' This notion of a 'sightless gaze' may indeed apply to some of Modigliani's portraits, but as a rule his sightless eyes do not 'gaze' at all; this is exemplified by the portralt of Max Jacob, and even by the pencil study fo it.

excerpt from Modigliani by Werner Schalenbach

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