Jeanne Hebuterne

Jeanne Hebuterne (April 6, 1898 – January 26, 1920) was a French artist, best known as the frequent subject and common-law wife of the artist Amedeo Modigliani.

Jeanne HebuterneBorn in Paris, France to a Roman Catholic family, her father, Achille Hebuterne, worked at Le Bon Marche department store. A beautiful girl, she was introduced to the artistic community in Montparnasse by her brother Andre Hebuterne who wanted to become a painter. She met several of the then starving artists and modeled for Tsuguharu Foujita. However, wanting to pursue a career in the arts, and with a talent for drawing, she chose to study at the Academie Colarossi. It was there in the spring of 1917 that Jeanne Hebuterne was introduced to Amedeo Modigliani by the sculptor Chana Orloff (1888-1968) who came with many other artists to take advantage of the Academy's live models. Although Modigliani was fourteen years older than Hebuterne, he was a very handsome and, when sober, charming man. They began seeing each other immediately and fell deeply in love. By this time, Modigliani's reputation as an alcoholic and drug addict was well known and to the consternation of her family, the young Jeanne Hebuterne moved in with him.

Hebuterne by ModiglianiDescribed by the writer Charles-Albert Cingria (1883-1954) as gentle, shy, quiet, and delicate, Jeanne Hebuterne became a principal subject for Modigliani’s art. In the fall of 1918, the couple moved to the warmer climate of Nice on the French Riviera where Modigliani’s agent hoped he might raise his profile by selling some of his works to the wealthy art connoisseurs who wintered there. While in Nice, a daughter was born on November 29th. The following spring, they returned to Paris and Jeanne became pregnant again. By this time, Modigliani was suffering from tubercular meningitis and his health, made worse by complications brought on by substance abuse, was deteriorating badly.

On January 24, 1920 Amedeo Modigliani died. Jeanne Hebuterne's family brought her to their home but the totally distraught woman threw herself out of the fifth-floor apartment window two days after Modigliani's death, killing herself and her unborn child. Her family, who blamed her demise on Modigliani, interred her in the Cimetiere de Bagneux. Nearly ten years later, the Hebuterne family finally relented and allowed her remains to be transferred to Pere Lachaise Cemetery to rest beside Modigliani.