Italy Today

A new Modigliani painting in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation collection

New colours and nuances of "Woman in a Sailor Shirt" on show in Venice after a massive restoration intervention

A new Modigliani painting in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation collection

Claudia Astarita

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A rare oil canvas made by the famous Italian artist and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani has just been bequeathed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation by Venetian collector Luisa Toso.  The painting is a 1916 one known as "Woman in a Sailor Shirt", and it will be exhibited at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice since early June.

As explained by the Australian newsaper Il Globo, "the canvas joins three other later paintings (1917-18) by Modigliani, nicknamed "Modì" (a pun on the French maudit, or "cursed"), in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation collection".

"Woman in a Sailor Shirt" was shown for the first time in a Modigliani's solo show organised by his dealer Léopold Zborowski at the Parisian gallery of Berthe Weill in December 1917. Unfortunately, at that time female nudes were considered unappropriate, if not unacceptable, and the show was interrupted. "Woman in a Sailor Shirt" was then bought by the art collector Paul Guillaume, and since then the masterpiece was shown only occasionally: at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Bruxelles in 1933 and at Kunsthalle Basel in 1934. In 1952, the portrait entered before entering the Toso collection in Venice in 1952.

In Italy, the Modigliani's portrait has been shown in different exhibition, from Milan to Rome, stopping by small cities such as Padua, Verona, Venice, Ancona, Caserta and Turin. For those who will have the chance to see this wonderful painting in Venice, "Woman in a Sailor Shirt" will offer new interesting insights on the original version of the Modigliani's piece. Thanks to a "restoration intervention carried out by the chief conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Luciano Pensabene Buemi, with funding from global private banking group EFG, [...] a thick layer of non-original varnish that had been applied during a previous restoration intervention was removed to reveal the original cold blue and grey tones as well as the peach-coloured face, which had deteriorated to beige".

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