Auction 1051, Modern Art, 29.05.2015, 18:00, Cologne Lot 236

Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Conrad Moricand

Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Conrad Moricand, before 1917, Auction 1051 Modern Art, Lot 236

Amedeo Modigliani

Livorno 1884 - 1920 Paris

Portrait de Conrad Moricand

Probably before 1917

Pencil drawing on plain thin paper with perforation to the left side (sketchbook page). 35.2 x 25.8/26.1 cm. Signed 'modigliani' lower right and with the addition 'MORICOND' within the depiction to the left. - With age related defects: The sheet slightly creased throughout, slightly irregularly browned and with two minor tears to the upper and left margins.

With an expert report and an expertise by Marc Restellini, Institut Restellini, Paris dated 11 March 2015 (no. 2015/PG/DE/14). The work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of paintings and drawings by Amedeo Modigliani currently under preparation.

With a photo-certificate from Perls Galleries, New York dated 29 March 1994 (no. 13856-P9949).

Provenance

Perls Galleries, New York; Galerie Maurice Keitelman, Brussels; Private possession, Germany (purchased from Maurice Keitelman at the Maastricht art fair in 1994)

The fine drawing, unpublished so far, originates from one of Modiglianis sketchbooks and interestingly enough reveals - apart from the pencil - pressure marks of a conception of the motif with the shaft. This technique not only underlines the authentic spontaneity and directness of the portrait study - as if we were looking over the artist's shoulder while he was working - but creates the illusion of an artistic, vital freshness despite the artwork's age and the traces of age.

Modigliani had made the acquaintance of Conrad Moricand (1887 - 1954), an astrologist and occultist from a Swiss family, in the artist and literati milieu of Montmartre and Montparnasse and had portrayed him several times. In his expertise, Marc Restellini points out the comparative examples of motive and style. An oil painting that has been handed down presumably depicts him, as do at least eight other drawings, with characteristic inscriptions and comments by Modigliani. These bear witness to the fact that the artist himself was obviously not averse to the occult and was interested in esotericism. The dating of 1919, as Perls suggested, might not be correct as, according to Restellini, the acquaintance commenced much earlier and one may assume that this is the portrait of a young man of not yet 30 years of age. However, Moricand worked as an illustrator for André Salmon in Paris in 1919, publishing esoteric books, i.a. “Les Interprètes, essai de classement psychologique d'après les correspondances planétaires“ with a preface by Max Jacob. Much later, it is Henry Miller who is introduced to Moricand by Anaïs Nin in 1936. Henry Miller processes the chaotic experiences with this meanwhile difficult friend in his autobiographic memoires "A Devil in Paradise" (Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, New York 1957) and portrays Conrad Moricand here under the pseudonym of "Téricand".

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