THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL ORIGINS OF MODERN ART (Chapter 4)

On June 27 of that very year, Josephin Péladan invited Modigliani to exhibit his latest portraits at the Salon de la Rose+Croix. Visitors were surprised to see that all the portraits were elongated in shape and had almond eyes with no sclera. It occurred to a visitor to comment that they looked like extraterrestrial beings, a comment that upset Modigliani who, to show his displeasure, smeared his body with bitumen and threw himself out the window. This behavior was not typical of Modigliani, who until then had not shown any kind of eccentric tendency. In fact, Modigliani had gone overnight from being a bourgeois, conformist artist, to becoming a ticking bomb that was unknown when and how it could explode. On one occasion, when Gertrude Stein was reviewing the artistic works of Le-Bateau-Lavoir, Modigliani pounced on her, inlaid her in a frame, and then hung the painting on one of the walls of the Salon d’Automne, where it was acquired by a Polish collector fond of abstract art. It took almost three months for Gertrude Stein to return from Poland to his home on 27 Rue de Fleurus. She never forgave Modigliani for this and in one of her poems she dedicated to him the sentence “Ass is an ass is an ass is an ass”.

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