Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani’s 1915 expressionist masterpiece, Portrait of Juan Gris, is a striking oil on canvas painting housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The portrait depicts Juan Gris, a well-known figure and the subject of a number of Modigliani’s paintings. Notably, Jeanne Hebuterne, one of the artist’s mistresses and the mother of his child, also modeled for this painting.
Modigliani experimented with African art influences in this painting through Gris’s elongated neck – a common feature found in African sculpture. Although predominantly known for his sculptures at the time (1909-1914), Modigliani became celebrated for his portrait work because they possessed exaggerated features and bodies that characterized them apart from others.
Portrait of Juan Gris showcases an array of colors on a subdued background, making it stand out as one-of-a-kind artwork today nearly over 100 years later. Visitors to the museum are often drawn to marvel at its unique aesthetic appeal highlighting not only its maker’s skills but also how contributionary it is towards art history as we know it today.