Livorno announces possible Modigliani Exhibition for 2019-2020

A few days ago Livorno city council and the Tirreno newspaper announced an important exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani's works, to take place this coming winter (2019-2020) at the Museo della Città di Livorno. There is nothing apparently surprising about this, considering that 2020 marks the centenary of the death of the Livornese artist, except that this would be the first exhibition featuring Modigliani's art to be held in Livorno since 1984 (an exhibit that featured just four of the artist's sculptures).

Modigliani was born in Livorno in 1886, but left for Paris in 1906 where he died in 1920 at the age of 36. Despite the fame that his works gained after his death, the city of Livorno, his birthplace, has never possessed or exhibited any of his important artworks. In fact, the artist is often more frequently remembered for the fakes of his sculptures and paintings that have made the headlines over the decades (most recently last year when Tuscan art critic Carlo Pepi reported the fakes at a major Modigliani exhibition in Genoa: link to article).

Even Livorno's recently-opened museum (2018) displays the fake sculptures that made the news in the 1980s, but of Modigliani's original work the museum has just one small sketch made on a café napkin.

It appears, then, that the tide may be about to turn. The coming exhibition, should it materialise - it is still not official, underlines councillor for culture Simone Lenzi - would feature a collection of 122 works belonging to art collector Jonas Netter, 14 of which by Modigliani, and would take place from November 2019 to February 2020. It would also include the works of other prominent artists who worked in Paris alongside Modigliani, such as Chaim Soutine, Susanne Valadon, André Derain, Moise Kisling and Maurice Utrillo. The Netter collection has already been the focus of several exhibitions in Paris, Milan, Rome, New York, and St Petersburg. For Livorno, an exhibition of this calibre would really make a mark. It remains to be seen whether the local authorities can really pull it off...