Lot 309
  • 309

Amedeo Modigliani

400,000 - 600,000 USD
519,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Amedeo Modigliani
  • Caryatide au chandeliers
  • Stamped with the Paul Alexandre collection mark and inscribed by Paul Alexandre Au cher Dr. Frèche à qui je dois d'être encore en vie aujourd'hui Son très reconnaissant Dr. Paul Alexandre, 12 mars 1966 (lower center)
  • Pencil on paper


Dr. Paul Alexandre, Paris (acquired directly from the artist)
Dr. Frèche, Paris (a gift from the above on March 12, 1966 and sold: Sotheby's, London, July 1, 1998, lot 133)
Acquired at the above sale


Venice, Palazzo Grassi; London, The Royal Academy; Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal; Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts & traveling, The Unknown Modigliani, Drawings from the Collection of Paul Alexandre, 1993-96, no. 375
Hakone, Japan, Pola Museum of Art, Finding Modigliani: From Parisian Avant-garde to Classicism, 2014, no. 129


Noël Alexandre, The Unknown Modigliani, Drawings from the Collection of Paul Alexandre, New York, 1993, no. 129, illustrated in color p. 212

Catalogue Note

Paul Alexandre met Modigliani in 1907 and invited the young artist to join his circle of students and artists. Alexandre became one of Modigliani's first patrons, commissioning portraits of his family and friends, and formed the most important collection of the artist's drawings. The present work comes from the first year of Modigliani's engagement with the theme of the caryatid. As Modigliani's conception of the female body turned toward a more abstract, idealized form in 1911, the figure of the caryatid allowed the artist to rethink the female form in terms of a sculpted body, already once removed from an actual body. Paul Alexandre's son Noël Alexandre writes that these "drawings of caryatids develop from figures of great expressive freedom in 1911 to more austere figures, geometric and sculptural, in 1912 and early 1913. In these drawings...Modigliani's style is fully developed, as he unites artifice and nature, the sensual and the hieratic, audacity and grace... The subtle use of stylization and simplification derived from African masks, tattoos, earrings and necklaces intensifies the majestic elegance of these beautiful creatures, who epitomize the highly personal devotion that Modigliani showed to women" (Noël Alexandre, op. cit., p. 189).

In the present work, the elegant lines of the caryatid reveal Modigliani's sophisticated simplification of the body to a series of fundamental lines and curves. This caryatid effortlessly carries her burden, although Modigliani energizes her posture with delicate hatches that surround the figure like an energy field. The elegant contours of the caryatid's face center the drawing with a sense of serenity.