Modigliani made no prints himself. The only large-scale Modigliani colour print which exists which is not a simple reproduction is this colour aquatint made by Jacques Villon. In the mid 1920's Villon, whose own prints were already widely admired and collected, was commissioned by the dealer Bernheim-Jeune to make a series of interpretative colour etchingsbased on paintings both by the great Impressionists, such as Manet, Cezanne and Renoir, and also by other major painters of his period, many of whom were his friends, such as Picasso, Bonnard. Matisse and Dufy. Villon had known Modigliani in the years between 1910 and his death in 1920, and his empathy with his work is very apparent in this aquatint derived from the famous painting 'L'Italienne'. This aquatint was first issued by Bernheim-Jeune in 1927/28. The first edition was 200 impressions, signed with a stamp signature authorised by Modigliani's estate, and numbered in pencil.The plate was subsequently deposited with the archive of the Chalcographie du Louvre, who printed a further edition, unsigned and with no numbering. || Size: 19 x 12 inches
Signature: Signed 'Modigliani' in the plate; signed and dated in pencil by Villon, upper right
Ginestet Pouillon, 650 (Villon)
About Jacques Villon
The eldest brother of Marcel Duchamp, caricaturist, illustrator, and painter Jacques Villon traded in his given name (Gaston Emile Duchamp) in homage to Alphonse Daudet’s novel Jack (1876) the poet François Villon. Initially noted for humous political cartoons, he soon turned to more serious "Belle Époque" style of printmaking, influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Eventually, he committed himself to painting, which he saw as "a method of prospecting, a manner of expression." As his style developed, he forged a unique blend of flat, geometric Cubist forms and a luminous palette worthy of the Impressionists. Villon was among the French artists who flirted with pure abstraction in the 1920s, producing compositions based on color theory. Ultimately however, he returned to painting portraits and landscapes, and would continue contributing illustrations and original prints to publications.