Lola de Valence, 1915. Amedeo Modigliani. Oil on paper, mounted on wood. Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967.
Modigliani consistently integrated stylistic features of African art into his distinctive portraits. This work represents Lola de Valence, a famous dancer who had previously modeled for Edouard Manet. Recalling a type of mask made in the French Congo, the head’s elongated shape and abstracted facial features also appear in Modigliani’s limestone sculpture Woman’s Head. Although the artist had abandoned sculpture by 1914 to focus exclusively on painting, his African-inflected sculptural style remained a touchstone for his painted portraits until his death in 1920.