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The Story Behind The Painting

The last in the series of ‘The Story Behind The Painting’ is about this powerful portrait ‘Jeune Femme,’ after Modigliani’s portrait painted circa 1917. Modigliani painted this elegant three-quarter length portrait at a pivotal time in his career. He was living and working in a studio in Montparnasse Paris, drawing inspiration from the environment around him, including the great music-hall theatres in the rue de la Gaite (Street of Gaiety). Like many artists before him (Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec), Modigliani was a frequent visitor to the night clubs. Jeune Femme or ‘Totote de la Gaite’ was probably a dancer at one of the shows he frequented and the muse for this portrait. Modigliani became the quintessential figure of this bohemian community, whose members he immortalised in numerous portraits. This portrait painting fuses all the characteristic traits of Modigliani, the stylistic and simple form of the female figure, the elongated neck and face with almond-shaped eyes, the melodic, flowing line of his brush, capturing the models ‘les yeux triste’ sad eyes.

This combination of the cool blue background and the richness, warmth and texture of this beautiful brunette makes this painting, for me, a pleasure to look at and recreate.

David Henty ‘Young Woman’ After Modigliani is oil on canvas 71cm x 94cm £4995.


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