[Leopold Zborowski (1889–1932), Paris]. Private Collection, London. Mrs. Cornelius J. [Mary Quinn] Sullivan (1877–1939), by Dec. 1937, sold at auction, Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Prints by Modern Artists…The Entire Collection of Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan, Parke-Bernet, New York, 6–7 Dec. 1939, lot 66 [Fine Arts Associates (Otto Gerson), New York, by 1950]; sold to Henry Pearlman, by Oct. 1954; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, by 1959.
Modigliani made sculpture for a brief period, creating approximately twenty-five known works carved directly in stone. Italian masons whom the artist befriended in Paris supplied the materials and taught him to carve. In these works, he sought a new kind of art, blending non-Western traditions. The elongated head and round mouth here recall African masks, and the hair and proper right ear include references to Asian art; other sculptures by Modigliani reveal the influence of ancient Egyptian art.
This sculpture is made from a reused building block (traces of iron in the hole at upper right suggest that it could have contained a railing or clamp).