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Friday, May 30 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Paintings Session) The Reconsideration of a Reattribution: Pierre-Edouard Baranowski by Amedeo Modigliani

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The attribution of the portrait of Pierre-Edouard Baranowski by Amedeo Modigliani in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) has been questioned on several occasions during its thirty-year history in the collection. Long complicated by the active market for forgeries of the artist’s work that arose soon after his death in 1919, Modigliani scholarship has been marked by a general wariness of previously unpublished works. FAMSF painting’s omission from earlier catalogues of the artist’s oeuvre, gaps in its provenance, and its relationship to another well-known depiction of the sitter cast doubt in the minds of some experts, and the portrait was formally demoted to “attributed to” status in the mid-1990s.

Prompted by the family of the original donor to revisit the attribution of FAMSF’s painting, a new technical study took place in 2011-2012. It was found through the examination and comparison with works by the artist in other collections that many of the idiosyncrasies of the painting that were initially taken as signs that it is not authentic are the very reasons for a favorable attribution. In the course of the study, the enormous influence that bias can play in our approach toward research was recognized. In this paper, the case for the restoration of the portrait’s status will be discussed and the subjective nature of visual perception will be explored.


Elise Effmann Clifford

Head of Paintings Conservation, de Young Museum
Elise Effmann Clifford is the Head Paintings Conservator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) where she has been since 2007. Prior to working at FAMSF, she was the Assistant Conservator of Paintings at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Paintings Conservation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She received her M.A. in Art History and Diploma in Conservation from the Institute of Fine... Read More →

Friday May 30, 2014 11:30am - 12:00pm
Grand Ballroom B