Saturday, 19 February 2011

Modigliani's muse : Jeanne Hébuterne

gentle, quiet, shy and delicate
Jeanne met Modigliani when she was eighteen years old and she soon became his lover and muse. He painted her red hair, sinuous body and long neck many times.

He believed the only route to true creativity was through defiance and disorder

She became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. The couple were quite besotted with one another and Jeanne put up with Amedeo's hedonistic lifestyle, caring for him and supporting him. They were friends as well as lovers.

When she was nearly full term with their second child Modigliani died. Jeanne was completely heart broken and committed suicide by walking backwards out of a top floor window. Jeanne was only twenty-one years old.

Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice.
Jeanne was also a very talented artist in her own right and one can only imagine what she might have produced if she had lived.

self-portrait by Jeanne Hébuterne

Jeanne painted by Modigliani

Modigliani portrait by Jeanne

April 6, 1898 – January 25, 1920


the tender light came before dusk
it turned my hair burnished red
swallows swooping in the gable
would soon be dead
when he was painting
I did not move
held by his restless gaze
only my lips and fingertips
would tremble at the anticipation
of each stroke that left
peach and pink oil paint
on my skin
and was my skin


  1. What a beautifully concise biography of a fascinating woman. Love your blog!

  2. I'm visiting here from Chrissy's blog -- what a fascinating story, and I love the photos and pictures.

  3. Hi Elizabeth, thanks for visiting! You are very welcome :)