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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LIFE
opened and in came a man with a roll of newspaper
under his arm. He wore a black hat and a corduroy
suit. He had curly black hair and brown eyes and
was very good looking. He came straight up to me
and said, pointing to his chest, cc Je suis Modigliani,
Juif, Jew" unrolled his newspaper, and produced
some drawings. He said, "Cinq Francs." They
were very curious and interesting, long heads with
pupil-less eyes. I thought them very beautiful.
Some were in red and blue chalk. I gave him five
francs and chose one of a head in pencil. He sat
down and we tried to understand each other and I
said that I knew Epstein and we got on very well,
although I could not understand much of what he
said.
He used to drink a great deal of wine, and absinthe
when he could afford it. Picasso and the really
good artists thought him very talented and bought
his works, but the majority of people in the Quarter
thought of him only as a perfect nuisance and told
me that I was wasting my money. Whenever I had
any money to spare I would buy one of his drawings.
Sometimes they would come down to three francs.
Every morning he would come to the Rotonde with
his drawings and he generally collected five francs
before twelve o'clock. He was then quite happy
and able to work and drink all day. I had an in-
troduction from a man in London to a Russian
woman painter called Marie WassiliefF; she had
been a pupil of Matisse and had now become a
Cubist. She had an Academy where Fernand
Leger was the professor. She lived in a large work-
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