M a r c h 19,   2013

 Modigliani creative Beatrice Hastings about Modigliani the artist

I nearly succeeded inadvertently in getting my place burned down by a flame of wrath. I was remarking carelessly that the value of works of plastic art has to be settled by the critics because, of course, artists seldom knew their good work from their bad – when the fire broke out. We quenched it somehow but the moment was grave. Perhaps I meant what I said all the same. For example, I possess a stone head by Modigliani which I would not part with for a hundred pounds even at this crisis$ and I routed this head from a corner sacred to the rubbish of centuries and was called stupid for taking it away. Nothing human, save the mean, is missing from the stone. It has a fearful chip above the right eye, but it can stand a few chips. I am told that it was never finished, that it will never be finished, that it is not worth finishing. There is nothing that matters to finish!

The whole head equably smiles in contemplation of knowledge, of madness, of grace and sensibility, of stupidity, of sensuality, of illusions and disillusions – all locked away as a matter of perpetual meditation. It is readable as Ecclesiastes and more consoling, for there is no lugubrious looking-back in this effulgent, unforbidding smile of intelligent equilibrium. What avail for the artist to denounce such a work? One replies, that one can live by it as by great literature. I will never part with it unless to a poet; he will find what I find and the unfortunate artist will have no choice as to immortality. But I don’t think artists understand or bother much about immortality … “

 

The New Age, February,11, 1915.

Quoted from Pierre Siechel. Modigliani, A Biography of Amedeo Modigliani, E.P. Dutton & Co, Inc., NY, 1967