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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHING    TORSO

Bloomsbury.   It was very dark and depressing and
I regretted very much that I had gone there.
Towards the end of 1919 the Polish picture-dealer,
who had given a contract to Modigliani, came to
London. He had a large room that had been used
as a dancing-school and had an exhibition of the
young painters in Montparnasse. The most im-
portant one was Modigliani. There were Soutine
and Kremegne and Zavado and Ortiz and many
others. The Modiglianis were not at all expensive
and the one of the boy, now in the Tate Gallery was,
I think, forty pounds. I found this exhibition very
inspiring and exciting and longed for Paris. Modig-
liani had had consumption when he was eighteen
and what with his hectic life was in a very bad way.
The art dealer returned to Paris as news came that
he was dying in the Hopital de la Charite, where
Alfred Jarry and so many other celebrated people
have died. He died a few days later and telegrams
were sent to London to put up the prices of his
pictures. His wife, who was about to have a child,
went to stay with her family, who were sale bourgeoisie
and lived near the Pantheon. She slept in a room
on the fifth floor. She was so despairing and miser-
able that, during the night, she jumped out of the
window and was killed. Her family, who were re-
ligious, said that they could not have a suicide in
the house. She was picked up by some workmen
and brought to the studio in the Rue de la Grande
Chaumiere, in which I lived for several years after-
wards. Two friends of Modigliani's sat with her
body in case mice or rats were about the place;
^V/VV.''.'"'., .- : ri6 -.'- ' '          ' '""