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Adrienne (Woman with Bangs) by Amedeo Modigliani

Adrienne (Woman with Bangs), 1917

Amedeo Modigliani

The painter’s brushstrokes are readily apparent in this portrait of a woman with short red hair, arched brows and a shapely mouth — it makes for a dynamic, busy surface. Along with contemporaries Matisse and Picasso, Modigliani incorporated the influence of African sculpture into his paintings. He was captivated by the “strange and novel forms” of it, a fellow artist wrote. You can see this influence in Adrienne’s mask-like presentation: the long, oval shape of her head, shapely eyes, long nose and extended neck. She looks like a woman, but also recalls African masks that represent spirit beings.

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