Renoir to Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
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The Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
Who was Paul Guillaume?
The Artists
Henri Rousseau: An Interactive Story
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Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Claude Monet
Paul Cézanne
Henri Rousseau
Henri Matisse
Amedeo Modigliani
Chaim Soutine
Marie Laurencin
Maurice Utrillo
André Derain
Pablo Picasso
National Gallery of Victoria
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Amedeo Modigliani

 

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Amedeo Modigliani - Paul Guillaume, Novo Pilota -

 

Amedeo Modigliani
Paul Guillaume, Novo Pilota, 1915
Oil on cardboard mounted on cradled plywood
105.0 x 75.0cm
Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
© Photo RMN - Daniel Arnaudet

 

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Paul Guillaume was twenty-three when Modigliani painted this portrait. Already an established dealer in l'art négre, Guillaume is presented as the ‘new helmsman’ and defender of contemporary art. His name boldly appears at upper left; at upper right the Star of David is accompanied by the inscription ‘Stella Maris’; ‘Novo Pilota’ is painted with a flourish at lower left. Modigliani signed the painting at lower right, adding a ‘swastika’ which, prior to its later negative association, was recognised as a Sanskrit symbol meaning ‘good omen’.

The Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine, a friend of Modigliani, gave an account of one of Guillaume's sittings for the artist: ‘Zborowski took Modi to the home of Paul Guillaume, a young art dealer, rather plump and flabby, who exhibited not only cubist paintings but also African sculptures as yet unfamiliar to the general public, of the sort I had noticed some years earlier in the British Museum, with ethnographic labels. Paul Guillaume agreed to have his portrait done by Modigliani. All the sittings and painting sessions took place in a cellar lit by strong electric light and with a litre of wine on the table’.

 

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© copyright 2001, The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Australia
Email: [email protected]

 

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