On the construction wall by SJSU M.A. students, The Dirty Brushes Club, painted reproductions of artist’s self-portraits, collectively titled, “Better Than Blue.” Each painting, about 4′ X 4′ portrays not only the unique persona of an artist, but also expresses an essence of the artist’s style.
I believe this image is after Modigliani with the characteristic tilt of the head and elongated, elegantly sad expression.
The late afternoon sun on plywood offers a weave that makes our Modigliani look more Asian, and the play of shafts of light over the face highlight the down pull that makes me think of sorrow, of prison camps, of missing a home country.
Someone well bred and cultured has held onto a quiet dignity during a time of humiliation. The sun and boards talk of time and aging but there’s a youthfulness to the flesh on the man’s face, almost Geisha-like. A refinement that contrasts with roughness.
I like to think that Mr. Modigliani would like this photo of the M.A. student’s portrait of his self-portrait. He might enjoy the thrice remove of it all, with something true about his personality holding through every transition.
I wonder how much the painting club learned from imitating the many modern artists they reproduced on the wall, Better Than Blue.