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The Barnes Foundation Brings Together International Scholars to Discuss Groundbreaking Research on Modigliani

"Modigliani Up Close," a Symposium takes place January 27–28, 2023

Philadelphia, PA, January 24, 2023—In a symposium exploring new research on the work of Amedeo Modigliani, the Barnes Foundation, home to one of the largest and most important holdings of Modigliani in the world, will convene leading national and international scholars to offer an in-depth exploration of the research behind the groundbreaking Modigliani Up Close project. Taking place January 27–28, the symposiumwill be led by exhibition co-curators Barbara Buckley, Senior Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator of Paintings at the Barnes; Simonetta Fraquelli, independent curator and consulting curator for the Barnes; Nancy Ireson, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes; and Annette King, Paintings Conservator at Tate, London. They will be joined by specialists from around the world—including art historians, conservators, and conservation scientists—all of whom contributed to the research behind this monumental project.

“Modigliani Up Close,” a Symposium is generously supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“The result of a collaborative, multiyear research effort, Modigliani Up Close has brought the international art community together to create a thorough vision of Amedeo Modigliani’s working practice,” says Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes. “It is our privilege to convene leading scholars from across the nation and around the world to share their monumental new research on Modiglianiamong the most celebrated artists of the 20th centuryagainst the incredible backdrop of this pivotal exhibition and our significant holdings, and in celebration of Dr. Barnes’s early support of Modigliani.”

Held at the Barnes and streamed online, the symposium kicks off Friday, January 27, at 6 pm with a keynote lecture by the exhibition co-curators and continues Saturday, January 28, from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm with a range of discussions by the Modigliani Up Close project team. Thematic talks throughout the day include Early Paris Paintings, Sculpture, Nudes, South of France and Last Works, and Catalogues Raisonnés. Following the lectures, attendees will receive special access to Modigliani Up Close from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. A full schedule is listed below.

Friday, January 27, 6–7:30 pm
Keynote Lecture by exhibition co-curators Barbara Buckley, Simonetta Fraquelli, Nancy Ireson, and Annette King focusing on the significance of Modigliani at the Barnes and the genesis of this landmark project.

Tickets to attend the Keynote Lecture at the Barnes are $18, $16 (members), and $10 (students) and include access to the Modigliani Up Close exhibition from 5 to 6 pm. Online access is $10, $9 (members), and free (students).

Saturday, January 28, 10:30 am–5:30 pm
Session One (10:30 am–1 pm)
Early Paris Paintings, introduced by Barbara Buckley

The years following Modigliani’s arrival in Paris were characterized by formal exploration and experimentation. During this period, the artist employed different styles and formats and painted over pre-existing works, creating imagery and surfaces that vary greatly. This session looks at the historical moment in which Modigliani made his early commissions and informal portraits and considers potential motivations behind his stylistic choices.

Speakers: Marie-Amélie Senot, LaM (Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France), Antonia, 1915; Mina Porell, Barnes Foundation, The Pretty Housewife, 1915; Allison Langley, Art Institute of Chicago, Madam Pompadour, 1915

Sculpture, introduced by Margaret Little
Modigliani’s paintings are well known, but his sculptural works are less familiar to a general audience. With the encouragement of Constantin Brancusi, the artist presented an ensemble of sculptures at the 1912 Salon d’Automne in Paris. This session presents an overview of the analysis of the different stones used for the sculptures featured in Modigliani Up Close; the tools and techniques used to carve them; and the paint and other materials found on their surfaces.

Speakers: Vivien Greene and Nathan Otterson, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Head, 1911–12; Jennifer Mass, Scientific Analysis of Fine Art, LLC, Stone and Materials Used by Modigliani

Lunch Break (1–2:15 pm)

Session Two (2:15–3:15 pm)
Nudes, introduced by Nancy Ireson

Modigliani is known for his depictions of the nude female model. This session traces the shifts in his approach to the nude and offers a detailed exploration of how the artist achieved different visual effects in his paintings, specifically through his use of colored grounds.

Speakers: Isabelle Duvernois, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Nude, 1917; Courtney Books, Saint Louis Art Museum, Elvira Resting at a Table, 1919, and Nathalie Bäschlin, Kunstmuseum Bern, Standing Nude (Elvira), 1918

Coffee Break (3:15–3:45 pm)

Session Three (3:45–5:30 pm)
South of France and Last Works, introduced by Annette King

In the spring of 1918, Modigliani went to the South of France with the encouragement of his dealer and mentor Léopold Zborowski. This move marked a change in his subject matter, his technique, and the overall appearance of his paintings. This session will explore Modigliani’s southern sojourn and look closely at how he achieved the luminosity and vibrant colors of these distinctive works.

Speakers: Greg Smith, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Newfields, The Boy, 1919; Luisa Mensi, Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti per l’Arte, Turin, Italy, Young Woman in a Yellow Dress (Renée Modot), 1918

Catalogues Raisonnés, introduced by Simonetta Fraquelli

An overview of the five catalogues raisonnés devoted to the work of Modigliani and considerations on the future of Modigliani research.

Speakers: Lena Stringari, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,
The Student, 1918; Matthew Gale, independent curator, Madame Zborowska, 1918

Modigliani Up Close Exhibition Access (5:30–6:30 pm)

Tickets to attend the day-long symposium at the Barnes are $50, $35 (members), and free for students; on-site tickets include access to the Modigliani Up Close exhibition. Online access is free; registration is required.

On view in the Roberts Gallery through January 29, 2023, Modigliani Up Close is a major loan exhibition that shares new insights into Amedeo Modigliani’s working methods and materials. It is curated by an international team of art historians and conservators: Barbara Buckley, Senior Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator of Paintings at the Barnes; Simonetta Fraquelli, independent curator and consulting curator for the Barnes; Nancy Ireson, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes; and Annette King, Paintings Conservator at Tate, London.

While many exhibitions have endeavored to reunite his paintings, sculptures, and drawings, Modigliani Up Close offers a unique opportunity to examine their production and explore how Modigliani constructed and composed his signature works. Featuring new scholarship that builds on research that began in 2017 with the major Modigliani retrospective at Tate Modern, this single-venue exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are the culmination of years of research by conservators and curators across Europe and the Americas. Modigliani Up Close furthers understanding of Modigliani’s approach to his art, refines a chronology of his paintings and sculptures, and helps to establish the locations and circumstances of where he worked.

The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue Modigliani Up Close is published by the Barnes Foundation in association with Yale University Press and edited by Barbara Buckley, Simonetta Fraquelli, Nancy Ireson, and Annette King. The catalogue, featuring 360 images and the writings of more than sixty authors, offers a focused exploration of how Modigliani constructed and composed his signature works and sheds light on Dr. Barnes’s role in the trajectory of Modigliani’s career. The Barnes collection is home to one of the most important groups of Modigliani works in the world and the catalogue brings these together with important paintings and sculptures on loan from public and private collections.

Modigliani Up Closeis organized by the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. It is curated by a prestigious and collaborative team of curators and conservators: Barbara Buckley, Senior Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator of Paintings, Barnes Foundation; Simonetta Fraquelli, independent curator; Nancy Ireson, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator, and Annette King, Paintings Conservator, Tate, London.

“Modigliani Up Close,” a Symposium is generously supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Modigliani Up Close is sponsored by Morgan Stanley and Comcast NBC Universal.

Additional support is provided by the David Berg Foundation, Sue Perel Rosefsky, Alter Family Foundation, Pamela and David Berkman, Julie Jensen Bryan and Robert Bryan, Laura and Bill Buck, Marianne Dean, Dietz & Watson, Roberta and Carl Dranoff, Deborah Glass, Anne and Matt Hamilton, Pamela and James Hill, Amy Donohue-Korman and John Korman, Sueyun and Gene Locks, the Samuel P. Mandell Foundation, Yasmina M. Moukarzel, Nicole and James Schaeffer, Joan F. Thalheimer, Bruce and Robbi Toll, Harriet and Larry Weiss, Margaret and Tom Whitford, Randi Zemsky and Bob Lane, and other generous individuals.

Ongoing support for exhibitions comes from the Christine and Michael Angelakis Exhibition Fund, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Christine and George Henisee Exhibition Fund, and Aileen and Brian Roberts.

The exhibition publication is made possible with generous support provided by Joan Garde, Bob Wilson and Michele Plante, the Lois and Julian Brodsky Publications Fund, and Furthermore: the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

In addition, support for all exhibitions comes from contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund.

The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, medieval, and Native American art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young Black artists, writers, and musicians who wanted to further their education. Dr. Barnes was deeply interested in African American culture and became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes Foundation has expanded its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways; investing in original scholarship relating to its collection; and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its programs.

The Barnes Foundation is situated in Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape people. Read our Land Acknowledgment.

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Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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