Samuel Bing, Paris
Mark Ollivert, Paris
Galerie Zak, Paris (acquired by 1929)
Madame Michaux, Paris (acquired by 1930)
The Storran Gallery, London
Sir Robert & Lady Sainsbury, London (purchased from the above on 20th February 1937)
Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Charitable Trust, Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich (a bequest from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 30th June 1998, lot 17)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Italienische Maler, 1927, no. 101
Venice, XVII Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d'Arte, Mostra individuale di Amedeo Modigliani, 1930, no. 24, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Ritratto d'uomo)
London, The Storran Gallery, Modigliani, 1937, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue
London, Gimpel Fils, A. Modigliani, 1948, no. 1
London, Ben Uri Art Gallery, Famous Jewish Artists of the Past, 1949, no. 20
London, Tate Gallery; Leicester, City Art Gallery & Manchester, City Art Gallery, Modern Italian Art, 1950, no. 68, illustrated in the catalogue
Glasgow, McLellan Galleries, Festival of Jewish Arts, 1951, no. 90, illustrated in the catalogue
Rome, VI Quadriennale Nazionale d'Arte di Roma, 1951-52, no. 14
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 20th Century Form. Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, 1953, no. 33
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, Modigliani, 1955, no. 21
Bern, Kunsthalle, Modigliani, Campigli, Sironi, 1955, no. 20
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent tableaux de Modigliani, 1958, no. 65, illustrated in the catalogue
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Mostra di Amedeo Modigliani, 1958, no. 42, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Ritratto del pittore Baranowski and with incorrect measurements)
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Modigliani, 1959, no. 31, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Ritratto del pittore Baranowski and with incorrect measurements)
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts & Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Modigliani. Paintings and Drawings, 1961, no. 27, illustrated in the catalogue
London, Tate Gallery, Private Views. Works from the Collections of Twenty Friends of the Tate Gallery, 1963, no. 167
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy & London, Tate Gallery, Modigliani, 1963, no. 43
Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Collectie Robert & Lisa Sainsbury, 1966, no. 34, illustrated in the catalogue
Tokyo, Museum of Art, Amedeo Modigliani et l'Ecole de Paris, 1991
Lugano, Museo d'Arte Moderna della Città di Lugano, Amedeo Modigliani, 1999, no. 59, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, L'Ecole de Paris, 2000-01
Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, L'ange au visage grave, 2002-03, no. 71, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (titled Pierre-Edouard Baranowski)
Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Modigliani, 2006, no. 31, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Tokyo, The National Art Center & Osaka, The National Museum of Art, Modigliani et le primitivisme, 2008, no. 42, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Arthur Pfannstiel, Modigliani, Paris, 1929, listed p. 45
Giovanni Scheiwiller, 'Amedeo Modigliani', in Arte Moderna Italiana, Milan, 1932, illustrated pl. XXVI
Giovanni Scheiwiller, 'Amedeo Modigliani', in Arte Moderna Italiana, Milan, 1935, illustrated pl. XXVII
Giovanni Scheiwiller, 'Amedeo Modigliani', in Arte Moderna Italiana, Milan, 1936, illustrated pl. XXVIII
E. H. Ramsden, An Introduction to Modern Art, London, New York & Toronto, 1940, illustrated pl. XXI
Giovanni Scheiwiller, 'Amedeo Modigliani, in Arte Moderna Italiana, Milan, 1942, illustrated pl. 42
Giovanni Scheiwiller, 'Amedeo Modigliani', in Arte Moderna Italiana, Milan, 1950, illustrated pl. XXVI
Enzo Carli, Modigliani, Rome, 1952, illustrated pl. 23
'Omaggio a Amedeo Modigliani', in Rivista di Livorno, Livorno, July-August 1954, illustrated pl. 13
Eric Newton, 'Unbeaten Tracks', in Time and Tide, London, 2nd April 1955
Arthur Pfannstiel, Modigliani et son œuvre, Paris, 1956, no. 276, listed p. 144
The Times, London, 21st April 1958, illustrated p. 3
Franco Russoli, Modigliani, Milan, 1958, illustrated pl. 26
Ambrogio Ceroni, Amedeo Modigliani, Milan, 1958, no. 125, illustrated fig. 125
Connaissance des Arts, no. 106, Paris, December 1960, illustrated p. 146
The Tatler, London, 17th April 1963, illustrated p. 155
The Times, London, 18th April 1963, illustrated
Ambrogio Ceroni, Amedeo Modigliani. Dessins et sculptures, Milan, 1965, illustrated p. 19, in a photograph of the 1925 Galerie Bing exhibition in Paris
Corrado Pavolini, Modigliani, Milan, 1966, illustrated in colour pl. 23
Epoca, Milan, 10th September 1967, illustrated
Pierre Sichel, Modigliani. A Biography of Amedeo Modigliani, London, 1967, discussed p. 469
Alfred Werner, Amedeo Modigliani, London, 1967, illustrated in colour p. 145
Csorba Geza, Modigliani, Prague, 1969, no. 43
Leone Piccioni & Ambrogio Ceroni, I dipinti di Modigliani, Milan, 1970, no. 280, illustrated p. 102
Joseph Lanthemann, Modigliani. Catalogue raisonné. Sa vie, son Oeuvre complet, son art, Barcelona, 1970, no. 286, illustrated p. 236
Modigliani exhibition - Love and Nostalgia for Montparnasse (exhibition catalogue), Daimaru Department Store, Tokyo & Osaka, 1979, illustrated in a photograph of the 1925 Galerie Bing exhibition in Paris
Carol Mann, Modigliani, London, 1980, no. 123, illustrated p. 169
Alfred Werner, Amedeo Modigliani, New York, 1985, illustrated in colour p. 117
Christian Parisot, Modigliani. Catalogue raisonné, Florence, 1988, vol. II, no. 37/1918, illustrated in colour p. 221
Christian Parisot, Modigliani. Catalogue raisonné, Livorno, 1990, vol. I, illustrated in colour p. 190
Osvaldo Patani, Amedeo Modigliani. Catalogo generale dipinti, Milan, 1991, no. 291, illustrated p. 290
Stephen Butler, Modigliani, London, 1994, illustrated in colour p. 104
Steven Hooper (ed.), Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, New Haven & London, 1997, vol. I, no. 133, illustrated in colour p. 221
‘[Modigliani’s] paintings are consistently characterised by great tenderness. Such feelings inform this portrait.’
Graham Beal in Steven Hooper (ed.), Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, New Haven & London, 1997, vol. I, , p. 220
Portrait de Baranowski is a wonderfully elegant and poignant composition that powerfully synthesises all those characteristic traits which Modigliani developed in his post-1916 portraits: the geometric simplification of the human form, the S-shaped curve of the body inscribed by a flowing melodic line, the elongated neck and face with almond, vacant eyes that render the sitter with an enigmatic and impenetrable mood, and the stylised, accentuated line of the nose and the pursed, small mouth with sensuous lips. The portrait, which was one of the thirty-nine paintings exhibited at the 1930 Venice Biennale in a special one-man show dedicated to Modigliani, shows a young man with fragile good looks, well-dressed in a casual manner, seated at a table with a pensive, introspective air. The artist’s own striking presence, his innate sense of elegance and his profound knowledge of poetry had made a strong impression on all who came across him when he first arrived in Paris. It is possible that Modigliani, increasingly burdened by illness, may have recognised in the figure of the youthful Baranowski the image of his earlier self.
Marc Restellini wrote about the present work and its sitter: ‘The painter Pierre-Edouard Baranowski, known as Bara, was a member of the Parisian Polish colony. A habitué of the Montparnasse cafés in the 1920s, he presumably met Modigliani through the latter’s friend and dealer, Léopold Zborowski, or perhaps through Moïse Kisling. This is the only known portrait of Baranowski, who, between 1920 and 1929, frequently exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon des Indépendants, showing flower paintings, still lifes and landscapes. The model, with his androgynous grace, occupies the entire space of the painting. The almost Mannerist preciousness of his pose – down-turned face, just a hint of a smile, left hand hanging limply and à l’artiste haircut – is tempered by the rigour of the colours: the black of the jacket and cravate, the light blue of the eyes and of the background, the dark blue of the trousers, and finally, the pallor of Baranowski’s skin, further emphasized by the white of his shirt’ (M. Restellini in Modigliani, The Melancholy Angel (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 320).
By the time the present work was painted, Montparnasse - where Modigliani had been living since 1909 - had earned a reputation as the home of avant-garde artistic life and the centre of cosmopolitan, bohemian culture in Paris. The Café de la Rotonde in particular, situated on the Boulevard de Montparnasse, had become a regular meeting place for Modigliani and his fellow artists including Chaïm Soutine, Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, André Salmon, Diego Rivera and Fernand Léger. Modigliani portrayed a number of figures that formed his social and artistic circle, creating a kind of visual history of Parisian Left Bank culture during the early twentieth century.
The present work is a quintessential example of Modigliani’s role as a chronicler of the vie bohème of Montparnasse, and it was probably executed before the artist’s departure for the south of France in March 1918. The sitter’s gentle youthful looks inspired Modigliani to create one of his most outstanding portraits, combining the characteristics of an individual with the lyricism of a poetic ideal. By 1918 Modigliani was thirty-four: his health and looks were destroyed by heavy drinking and drug taking. Many of those who sat for him during the last two years of his life were young, unknown and of very modest origins, their faces marked by what the writer Ilya Ehrenburg has called a ‘hunted tenderness’. Among all those young faces, Baranowski reveals an unusually strong sense of identification between the painter and his subject.
Graham Beal wrote about the present work: ‘The fact that this depiction of the Polish émigré Baranowski has, on occasion, been referred to as “The Poet”, when the sitter was not a poet at all, can be construed as testimony to the character of the image itself: a study in gentle and languid melancholy. The basic form of the sitter comprises an “S”, here reversed, a configuration that Modigliani had used to achieve a rather different effect in the caryatid drawings […]. In this work the supple linear quality is augmented by dappled brush strokes. Unusual for Modigliani, this more painterly treatment may, as one critic noted, well reflect a renewed interest on the artist’s part in Picasso and Braque’s monumental cubist figures of the period’ (G. Beal in Steven Hooper (ed.), op. cit., p. 220).
This mannerist style that characterised Modigliani’s painting is partly derived from the artist’s fascination with the Old Masters of his native Italy. As Werner Schmalenbach wrote: ‘Historical associations impose themselves: echoes not only of the fifteenth-century Mannerism of Sandro Botticelli but of the classic sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Mannerism of Pontormo, Parmigianino and perhaps also El Greco. […] Modigliani had a sound knowledge of Italian art, and we must assume that he was well aware of all this, however direct or indirect the actual influence’ (W. Schmalenbach, Modigliani, Munich, 1980, p. 42).
Summarising Modigliani’s achievement as a portrait painter, James Thrall Soby has written: ‘In his intensity of individual characterisation, Modigliani holds a fairly solitary place in his epoch. One senses in his finest pictures a unique and forceful impact from the sitter, an atmosphere of special circumstance, not to recur. But he was far from being a simple realist. On the contrary, he solved repeatedly one of modern portraiture’s most difficult problems: how to express objective truth in terms of the artist’s private compulsion. The vigour of his style burns away over-localised fact. Indeed, his figures at times have the fascination of ventriloquist’s dummies. They are believable and wholly in character, yet they would be limp and unimaginable without his guiding animation’ (James Thrall Soby, Modigliani: Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1951, p.10).
The first owner of Portrait de Baranowski was Léopold Zborowski, who became Modigliani’s dealer after the end of the artist’s relationship with Paul Gauillaume, and later to Guillaume himself. Zborowski, who had arrived in Paris in 1913, was introduced to Modigliani probably in 1915 by Moïse Kisling, who lived in the same building. Although he did not open a gallery until 1926, Zborowski began to deal in art from his apartment, installing Modigliani in one of the rooms and providing him with models and materials. In 1937 the present work was acquired by Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury, the celebrated collectors of books, British and European art as well as Chinese and African sculpture. Containing notable works by artists including Degas, Picasso, Giacometti, Bacon and Moore, their collection is today housed in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, designed by the architect Norman Foster.
This work has been requested for the exhibition Modigliani to be held at Tate Modern, London from November 2017 to April 2018.
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