Unique Modigliani drawings to be sold

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A unique set of seven drawings by the artist Amedeo Modigliani, taken from the collection of his patron and greatest admirer, is to be sold at auction in London.

The drawings belonged to the French physician Dr Paul Alexandre, who had an undying admiration for the young Italian artist whom he met in Paris in the autumn of 1907.

He supported Modigliani throughout the artist's early years in Paris and their friendship resulted in Alexandre accumulating an unparalleled collection of works from Modigliani's formative period.

"From the day of our first meeting I was struck by his remarkable artistic gifts," wrote Alexandre of his friend. "I put the meagre resources I could spare at his disposal, and I possess almost all his paintings and drawings from this period."

Estimates for the drawings range from £5,000 to £60,000. In pen and ink, and crayon, brush and ink, they demonstrate the various themes that occupied Modigliani at the time, which included sketches, sculpture heads, nudes, portraits and studies for paintings.

The men's friendship was cut short in 1914 by the First World War. Alexandre never saw Modigliani again, because he was not demobbed until shortly before the artist's premature death from tubercular meningitis in 1920. Modigliani's mistress, pregnant with their second child, fell to her death from a window the day after.

The seven drawings will be sold at Sotheby's Impressionist and modern art sale on 26 June.