1111Elegant and priceless, Modigliani's Girl is soon to be exhibited at the Guggenheim in Venice
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is enriched with a peculiarly rare pearl painting: the Amedeo Modigliani's Ragazza con il bavero alla marinara (The Girl with the Sailor's Collar, La femme en blouse marine), 1916, the legacy of Venetian collector Luisa Toso. The canvas will be exhibited at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection starting in June, following a delicate restoration work undertaken by the museum's conservation department.
This conservation project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of EFG, the Museum's Institutional Patron and already partners in restoration projects of the Collection's works. "The girl with the the sailor's collar" enriches the artistic and museum heritage of the city with an invaluable masterpiece, according to the will of the same donor. In addition, the canvas of "Modì", nickname of the Livornese artist by the French maudit (damned), joins three other works belonging to the New York collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, but later to this, all dating back to 1917-18.
The protagonist of the canvas is a young woman with a black haircut that accentuates the face's oval, and together exalts her with the background and the same dark dress, the faded rosy face. The same subject appears in another work by the artist, same year, The Seat Servant. The tint of the dress suggests placing the work in the winter, as in the beautiful season the "marinière", also known as "French Riviera Style", adopted by the children of the Parisian haute bourgeoisie who atteded the Côte d'Azur, provided bright colors. The slightly androgynous appearance and representative abstinence respond to the constant need in Modigliani to transfer the unconscious, the mystery of the intellect of the human race to the canvas. In the anatomical stretch that, from the second half of the twentieth century, characterizes all his works, emerging echoes of previous sculptural experiences are noted, with African and Oriental reminiscences.
The canvas, identified with "La femme en blouse marine", is exhibited on occasion of the artist's staff organized by his merchant Léopold Zborowski in December 1917 in the Paris gallery of Berthe Weill. The show aroused scandal for the female naked showers in the showcase, so they had to close in advance. In 1917, the painting was purchased by the Paul Guillaume art merchant and exhibited on rare occasions at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1933 and at the Kunsthalle Basel in Basel in 1934 eventually landing into the Toso collection in Venice, in 1952. Subsequently, over the years, "The Girl" was exposed in Milan, Rome, Padua, Verona, Venice, Ancona, Caserta and Turin, after the Italian state certified the work as one of the highest artistic work and historical value.
Prior to her exhibition, the canvas was the subject of a restoration work by the chief conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and has been made possible thanks to the valuable support of EFG, who enthusiastically embraced the project by understanding its historical-artistic importance. Luciano Pensabene Buemi intervened on the surface of the painting by removing the thick layer of non-original, oxidized and yellow paint applied to a previous restoration action that had distorted the colors, remarking the cold, gray and blue tones as Modigliani's unmistakable trait although quite faded. Thanks to the intervention the colors have taken on the original tones again and even the traces of oxidation and bleaching, visible in several parts on the canvas, have been filled.