Amedeo Modigliani 1909

It was a summer day in 1916 when come back another born in Livorno, also come from Paris. He didn't look good: his head was shaven like that of an escaped convict, he'd a roundish face more or less covered with a small cap with the visor torn off. He was wearing a miserable linen jacket and open shirt, his trousers were held up by a string tied around his waist, and he was wearing a pair of espadrilles.
Another pair of espadrilles dangled from his hand. He said that he had returned to Livorno for the love of the chickpea flatbread and for those cheap and comfortable shoes. Then he added, "Let's have a drink?" So he ordered an absinthe. [...]
Having eaten the Chickpea flatbread, after wearing the espadrilles and drank the absinthe, Amedeo nicknamed "Dedo" asked us for a warehouse and paving stones, so we thought of some urbanization works or weight training exercises.
In truth "Dedo", started as a painter, came back also as a sculptor, and he showed some reproductions of long heads with big noses, all equally sad. [...]

Then, like the fog, he went missing, but not without asking first where he could store the sculptures that seemed to have produced. Throw them into the ditches, he was advised. (G. Razzaguta, Virtù degli artisti labronici, Livorno, 1943, p.175)

None of the Livorno's authors have ever spoken about a Modigliani sculptor in his hometown in 1909, but during the following stay (date that was wrong by everyone), in which was linked the legend, now become famous after 1984, which sees Modigliani follow the Livorno's artists advice, to throw his sculptures in the Fossi Medicei.

Gastone Razzaguta (1890-1950) was the first to write this story in 1943. He was followed by Silvano Filippelli (1919-1977) in 1954 and then by Aldo Santini (1922-2011) as we discover by reading his books published on 1984 and 1987. The authors Filippelli and Santini, obviously, could not have known Modigliani (1884-1920), in fact they only reported what wrote by Razzaguta in his publication, anticipating this event in 1915.

But if Razzaguta had assured that the event of the heads thrown into the ditches took place in 1916, why the architects of "miraculous fishing" were looking for the heads that Modigliani would have thrown into the Livorno canals in 1909?

To the sentence full of inexorable Tuscan irony: "throw them into the ditches!" is - perhaps - linked to the urban legend that in 1984 will open the way to one of the most absurd and obscure forgery of the history of art.

This site aims to retrace the steps of what is perhaps improperly is still remembered as the "hoax of 1984", but above all to bring to light the history of other sculptures, those recovered by Piero Carboni in 1943 in the rubble of the house of his relatives, building semi-destroyed by bombings of the Second World War. Three heads in sandstone, on two of which there's carved a date: 1909.

The contents present on this website are excerpt from the book "Amedeo Modigliani. The stumbling stones. The story of the real heads of Modigliani"

Maurizio Bellandi