Jeanne Modigliani

Jeanne Modigliani (born Giovanna Hébuterne, 29 November 1918 – 27 July 1984)[1] was an Italian-French Jewish art historian mostly known for her biographical research on her father, artist Amedeo Modigliani. In 1958 she wrote the book Modigliani: Man and Myth, later translated into English from the Italian by Esther Rowland Clifford.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Her father, Amedeo Modigliani, was an Italian Jewish artist who worked mainly in France. Primarily a figurative artist, he became known for paintings and sculptures in a modern style characterised by mask-like faces and elongation of form. He died in 1920 of tubercular meningitis, exacerbated by poverty, overwork, and addiction to alcohol and narcotics.

Her mother, Jeanne Hébuterne, was a French artist, best known as her father's frequent subject and common-law wife. When Modigliani died, on January 24, 1920, the twenty-one-year-old Hébuterne was eight months pregnant with their second child. A day after Modigliani's death, Hébuterne was taken to her parents' home. There, inconsolable, deeply depressed, eight months pregnant, and in despair, she threw herself out of a fifth-floor window, killing herself and her unborn second child. Her daughter, Jeanne, who was named after her, was only 14 months old.

After her parents' deaths the fourteen-month-old orphan Jeanne was brought to Italy and raised by her paternal grandparents and by her paternal aunt, who adopted her, in the Modigliani hometown of Livorno, where she spent her childhood. She then graduated in art history in Florence.[3]

World War IIEdit

Jeanne first married the Italian Jewish economist and journalist Mario Cesare Silvio Levi (born 1905). She later was identified and persecuted as a Jew by the fascists, fleeing to Paris.[3] During World War II, she participated in the French Resistance. During this time she met another Resistance fighter, Valdemar "Valdi" Nechtschein (his nom de guerre was Victor Leduc), who was also married. They began an affair, and in May 1946, Jeanne gave birth to their daughter, Anne. Eventually, both divorced their spouses and married one another. Their second daughter together, Laure, was born in 1951.

Later lifeEdit

Jeanne and Valdemar Nechtschein divorced in 1980.

Following a fall that caused a cerebral hemorrhage, Jeanne died in a Paris hospital in 1984.[4]


  1. ^ "E' MORTA A PARIGI JEANNE MODIGLIANI FIGLIA DEL PITTORE". La Repubblica. 29 July 1984. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  2. ^ "A Portrait of Father; MODIGLIANI: Man and Myth. By Jeanne Modigliani". The New York Times. 30 November 1958.
  3. ^ a b "E' MORTA A PARIGI JEANNE MODIGLIANI FIGLIA DEL PITTORE", La Repubblica, 29 July 1984, retrieved 25 October 2016
  4. ^ "Jeanne Modigliani". The New York Times. 29 July 1984. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 January 2019.