For all of the hand-wringing about the Impressionist and Modern category drying up, Sotheby’s is doing a good job of bringing together some high value Modern works for its London sales later this month.
Announced this weekend was this $40m Modigliani portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne painted late in the year before he died. Here’s Sotheby’s pitch on the work:
Jeanne met Modigliani in 1917, when she was a young art student, and for the next three years she was his constant companion and source of inspiration. The two were devoted to each other – with Modigliani even pledging to marry her, despite her family’s protestations. Indeed, it is the portraits of Jeanne painted during the last years of his life are perhaps his most refined and accomplished works. In January 1920, Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis. Following the funeral, atwenty-two year old, and reputedly heavily pregnant, Jeanne was taken to her parents’ home. There, inconsolable, she committed suicide by leaping from an upstairs window. The serene calm of Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard) reveals a tender moment in their love story.