One of those artists who carved out an instantly recognisable style, yet refused easy categorisation: Amedeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920) makes his first appearance in Austria with a major exhibition at the Albertina.
- Retrospective features his nudes, portraits, sculptures, and more
- Includes a focus on his role in the evolution of modern primitivism
- Runs Sept 17, 2021 – Jan 9, 2022 (preliminary dates)
- See also: Albertina visitor & tickets info
Modigliani – Picasso: The Primitivist Revolution
(Head, 1911-12 (limestone) by Amedeo Modigliani; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, USA; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Cowles, 62.73.1 © Minneapolis Institute of Art)
The large end-of-year art exhibitions skipped 2020 in Vienna for reasons that need no explanation. But they’re back (hopefully) with a vengeance in 2021.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum, for example, has a Titian exhibition in the colourful and finely-drawn pipeline, and the Albertina gives another Italian a major retrospective: Amedeo Modigliani.
The exhibition chooses not to focus on the misplaced stereotype of an artist troubled by addiction and ill health, attracted to the seedier side of life, and doomed to an early death in poverty before his art became fully appreciated.
(Though I’m sure Modigliani would have offered a wry smile and then enjoyed a stiff drink if he knew his 1917 Nu couché would eventually sell for around US$170 million.)
Instead, Modigliani’s role in the development of primitivism in modern art receives special focus.
Many of the works for which Modigliani is best known feature, of course. So expect those long-necked portraits and sculptures, as well as the kind of nudes that caused such a sensation in 1917 Paris at the only solo exhibition held in his lifetime.
The police intervened at the exhibition at Galerie B. Weill, requiring the removal of some explicit paintings from the window display. I believe the Albertina exhibition even includes one of the featured nudes (Female Nude Reclining on a Pillow from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart).
Various works and artifacts from other artists and creators appear, too, to illustrate the influence of primitivism on Modigliani’s own works and, in turn, his influence on the development of that genre through the early 20th century.
So you’ll find “primitive” cultural items from before the advent of modern civilisation, as well as works by the likes of Picasso (whose portrait Modigliani painted in 1915 – the two were acquainted in Paris), Brancusi (another friend who Modigliani also painted), and Derain.
The Albertina itself owns Modigliani’s 1918 Young Woman in a Shirt, but curator Marc Restellini brings together works from all over the world for this exhibition. This includes such items as the 1911/12 Head sculpture from the Minneapolis Institute of Art (pictured above), the 1916/1917 portrait of Max Jacob from the Cincinnati Art Museum, or the 1914 Caryatid with a Vase from London’s Tate Museum.
Dates and tickets
Enjoy Modigliani’s particular style from September 17th, 2021 to January 9th, 2022, assuming all remains good on the COVID side of things.
Be sure to check out the other exhibitions on at the time, particularly the permanent exhibition which normally features numerous Picassos and other works from contemporaries of Modigliani.
Schedules can change, but much of the Modigliani exhibition looks to overlap with, for example, one for Michela Ghisetti and another showcasing the work of some of America’s greatest 20th-century photographers.
How to get to the exhibition
Look for tips at the bottom of the main Albertina page.
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna