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]. Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, experts Jos Hessel and Georges Keller, June 1, 1932, no. 39, repr., for 24,000 Fr; Jos Hessel, Paris (in 1934). André Lefevre. [Reid and Lefevre Gallery, London, 1947]. [2] James Archdale, Birmingham. Duncan MacDonald, London. Sale, July 7, 1948, for £1,057; [Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, by 1948]. Fanny Brice, Los Angeles (until d. 1951); [Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, 1951–52; sold, April 8, 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] Alex Reid and Earnest Lefevre of Reid and Lefevre Gallery owned half interest in the painting with Hatfield. Stock no. 153/47.
Curator Approved

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