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Produced by Modigliani in 1916, it is believed that Seated Algerian Almaiisa is a portrait of an Algerian Model
Seated Algerian Almaiisa shows much of Modigliani's signature style. There is is the mask-like face that is suggestive of African art and there is also the elongated neck. Both help identify the work immediately as that of Modigliani.
In addition Almaiisa's almond eyes are typical of his work, especially his later work. They are similar to those found in portraits like 'Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz.' Almaiisa's eyes sparkle though, giving her vibrancy and personality.
This too is typical of Modigliani's work. Modigliani was part of the 'Ecole de Paris' or Modern Paris School. At best this was a broad affiliation between artists living (including Picasso, Matisse and Mondrian) in Paris at the same time.
It covered different styles and '-isms' and whilst Modigliani didn't conform to any of these art movements it is possible to see the effect of their art theories upon his work.
Modigliani's portraiture is a prime example of this. Like Picasso he used portraits to explore the personality and character of his sitter. In Seated Algerian Almaiisa the central figure is young and beautiful. She seems self-contained and confident, staring steadily out at the world.
There is another picture entitled 'Act on a Sofa (Almaiisa) that also appears to depict the same model. In this work she is a reclining nude, and this more intimate portrayal is reflected in a change in her demeanour. In this she is sensual and welcoming attention. She stares steadily out still, but looks in confident and proud, like a woman in control of where she is.
Gone is the uprightness of the Seated Algerian Almaiisa, but the personality looking out at the audience still remains. The self-assurance and steadfastness tells about who she really is. This in turn shows what makes Modigliani so original and sought after today.