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Death Mask of Amedeo Modigliani, 1920

Jacques Lipchitz

French, 1891-1973
Bronze, Edition of 12, unnumbered cast
8-3/4 x 5-3/4 x 4-1/2 in. (22.2 x 14.6 x 11.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Barbara Poe Levee

Not on view

Jacques Lipchitz and Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) were close friends. Each one had moved to France at a young age, and together they matured both artistically and personally in the bohemian enclaves of Paris. The two immigrants—both of whom had come from Jewish backgrounds—lived among other young artists, including Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris, and they shared a passion for liberating the traditional boundaries of art making. Their close relationship is recorded by Modigliani in a sensitive portrait of Lipchitz and his wife (1916, Art Institute of Chicago). The mask displayed here, cast upon Modigliani’s untimely death, reflects how portraiture can be used not only to identify the character of a sitter but also to record and remember a beloved figure.

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