My favorite Modigliani is in one of the great gems of Los Angeles, the permanent collection in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Many times I would pay the eight dollar admission, ignore the rest of the museum and just sit in front of this portrait with its tragic caption:
This work depicts Jeanne Hebuterne, wife of the artist, whom he met in 1917. Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis in 1920. Despondent over his death, Jeanne committed suicide the following morning. She was nine months pregnant with their second child.
Now that I am in New York, there are many more Modigliani’s, especially at the Met. But none come close to the one in Pasadena, the one with the slate grey eyes.