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The most comprehensive Modigliani exhibition ever held in the UK, Tate Modern’s large survey of the artist’s work looks at the experimentation and personal relationships that informed his career.
Among the almost 100 works on show is a section dedicated to the artist’s nudes, which – bold and controversial at the time – saw Modigliani’s only solo lifetime exhibition, at dealer Berthe Weill’s gallery in 1917, censored by the police on grounds of indecency. Comprising 10 pieces including Seated Nude (1917) and Reclining Nude (1919), this display at Tate is the largest collection of these works to have been shown in the UK.
This intimate tone carries through the exhibition, with a focus on Modigliani’s portraits of his contemporaries in Paris (where he moved from Italy in 1906), and on the writer Beatrice Hastings, whose role is amplified from that of the artist’s muse to acknowledge her significance in the cultural landscape at the time. The show also includes several portraits of Jeanne Hébuterne, one of the most important women in his life.
A number of the artist’s Heads – sculptures made before the First World War – offer insight into the influence of Modigliani’s friends including Constantin Brâncusi and Jacob Epstein, while audiences are able to get even closer to his world through a specially integrated virtual reality experience placed at the heart of the exhibition. Wearing a VR headset, visitors can step into Modigliani’s adopted home city of Paris and explore some of the environments and elements of popular culture that helped inform his practice and perspective.