Amedeo Modigliani

Letter: Modigliani needs art historical approach

Dr Kenneth Wayne says scholarship is the way forward

I read with great interest Georgina Adam’s article in the May issue of The Art Newspaper titled “The dangerous, fake-riddled world of Modiglianis”. I have a solution to this problem: scholarship. Somehow, Modigliani studies have consisted almost exclusively of biographical approaches or yet another catalogue raisonné. For the most part, Modigliani has yet to benefit from basic art historical treatment and scholarly attention, i.e. analytical, footnoted studies.

I hope to have contributed to the scholarly process with my exhibition and 240-page catalogue, “Modigliani and the Artists of Montparnasse”, which are based on more than 15 years of research. The exhibition opens here at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York (19 October- 12 January 2003) before travelling to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (9 February-25 May 2003) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (29 June-28 September 2003). The catalogue, which is being co-published by Abrams, will appear in both English and Italian editions; it contains new information and provides a major new interpretation of the artist.

The field of Modigliani scholarship is wide open. Focusing serious scholarly attention on art historical concerns of analysis, influence, interpretation, exhibitions and critical reaction, instead of constantly on biography and issues of authenticity, will in the end help clarify authenticity issues, and benefit everyone, most of all Modigliani himself.

Dr Kenneth Wayne

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 126 June 2002