Little Servant Girl, c. 1916

The first painting by Modigliani to enter the Institute's collection, The Little Servant Girl is typical of the genre portraits he produced during the years 1915 through 1920. Influenced by Cezanne's portraits, Modigliani developed a unique style characterized by exaggerated forms and elongated features. He used broad areas of color to great spatial effect and distorted features for the sake of aesthetic beauty. Preoccupied with line, he sought to create the abstract by rendering only a few necessary details realistically, emphasizing swift suggestion rather than precise definition. Through his eyes, prostitutes, servants, friends, and the children of the Montparnasse were treated with equal importance; indeed, he provided each of them with an elegant poise, exemplified here with the folded hands and dignified bearing of this otherwise anonymous Parisian girl.

Little Servant Girl
Artist Life
Accession Number
Gaston Bernheim, Paris. [Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, in 1922] [1]. André Lefevre. Jos Hessel, Paris. Sale, Paris, Hotel Drouot, June 1, 1932, no. 39, repr. [Lefevre Gallery, London]. [2] James Archdale, England. Duncan MacDonald, London. Sale, July 7, 1948, for £1,057; [Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, by 1948]. Fanny Brice, Los Angeles, California (until d. 1951);[3] [Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, 1952; sold to Maslon]; Samuel H. and Luella R. Maslon, Palm Springs, California and Wayzata, Minnesota (1952–1959; given to MIA) [1] Bernheim-Jeune lent work to Venice Biennale, listing value at 22,000 livres. [2] Lefevre owned half interest in the painting with Hatfield. Stock no. 153/47. [3] According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune article (1959), "The painting was purchased in California 10 years ago from the collection of the late Fanny Brice." The work was still in the collection of Brice when she loaned it to MoMA in 1951.
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