Amedeo Modigliani was born July 12, 1884, in Livorno, Italy. The serious illnesses he suffered during his childhood persisted throughout his life. At age 14, he began to study painting. He first experimented with sculpture during the summer of 1902 and the following year attended the Reale Istituto di Belle Arti in Venice. Early in 1906, Modigliani went to Paris, where he settled in Montmartre and attended the Académie Colarossi. His early work was influenced by Paul Cézanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen. In the fall of 1907, he met his first patron, Dr Paul Alexandre, who purchased works from him before World War I. Modigliani exhibited in the Salon d’Automne in 1907 and 1912 and in the Salon des Indépendants in 1908, 1910, and 1911.

In 1909, Modigliani met Constantin Brancusi when both artists were living in Montparnasse. From 1909 to 1914, he concentrated on sculpture, but also drew and painted. However, the majority of his paintings date from 1916 to 1919. Modigliani’s circle of friends first consisted of Max Jacob, Jacques Lipchitz, and the Portuguese painter Amadeo de Souza Cardoso; later, he associated with Tsugouharu Foujita, Moïse Kisling, Jules Pascin, the Sitwells, Chaim Soutine, and Maurice Utrillo. His dealers were Paul Guillaume (1914–16) and Leopold Zborowski (by 1917). The only solo show given to the artist during his lifetime took place at the Galerie Berthe Weill in December 1917.

In March 1917, Modigliani met Jeanne Hébuterne, who became his companion and model. From March or April 1918 until May 31, 1919, they lived in the south of France, in both Nice and Cagnes. Modigliani died on January 24, 1920, in Paris.