Giovanni Boldini

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Self-portrait (1892)
Giovanni Boldini (1910)

Giovanni Boldini (31 December 1842 in Ferrara, Italy – 11 July 1931 in Paris, France) was an Italian genre and portrait painter. According to a 1933 article in Time magazine, he was known as the "Master of Swish" because of his flowing style of painting.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Boldini was born in Ferrara, the son of a painter of religious subjects, and in 1862 went to Florence for six years to study and pursue painting. He only infrequently attended classes at the Academy of Fine Arts, but in Florence, met other realist painters known as the Macchiaioli. Their influence is seen in Boldini's landscapes which show his spontaneous response to nature, although it is for his portraits that he became best known.

Moving to London, Boldini attained success as a portraitist. He completed portraits of premier members of society including Lady Holland and the Duchess of Westminster.[2] From 1872 he lived in Paris, where he became a friend of Edgar Degas. He also became the most fashionable portrait painter in Paris in the late 19th century, with a dashing style of painting which shows some Impressionist influence but which most closely resembles the work of his contemporaries John Singer Sargent and Paul Helleu. He was nominated commissioner of the Italian section of the Paris Exposition in 1889, and received the Légion d'honneur for this appointment.

A Boldini portrait of his former muse Marthe de Florian, a French actress, was discovered in a Paris flat in late 2010, hidden away from view on the premises that were unvisited for 70 years. The portrait has never been listed, exhibited or published and the flat belonged to de Florian's granddaughter who went to live in the South of France at the outbreak[3] of the Second World War and never returned.[4] A love-note and a biographical reference to the work painted in 1888, when the actress was 24, cemented its authenticity. The full length portrait of the lady in the same clothing and accessories, but less provocative, hangs in the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Giovanni Boldini is a character in the ballet Franca Florio, regina di Palermo, written in 2007 by the Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero, which depicts the story of Donna Franca, a famous Sicilian aristocrat whose exceptional beauty inspired him and many other artists, musicians, poets and emperors during the Belle Époque.

Gallery[edit]

Paintings[edit]

Year Title Image Collection Comments
1873 Gossip, oil on wood view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
1875 Ladies of the First Empire view Vanderbilt collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art
1879 The Dispatch-Bearer (c. 1879), oil on wood view Metropolitan Museum of Art
1885 Portrait of Mrs. Charles Warren-Cram, oil on canvas view Metropolitan Museum of Art Subject: Ella Brooks Carter (1846–1896)
1886 Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi Verdi.jpg National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome Subject: Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901))
1888 Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt Bernhardt, Sarah di Giovanni Boldini.jpg Subject: Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923; French stage and film actress)
1888 Portrait of Marthe de Florian Boldini Marthe de Florian.jpg Private Rediscovered in 2010
1890 Portrait of John Singer Sargent (c. 1890), oil on panel Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) -John Singer Sargent(Standing).jpg Subject: John Singer Sargent (1856–1925; American artist and portrait painter)
1890 Portrait of John Singer Sargent (c. 1890), oil on panel Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) - A Portrait of John Singer Sargent.jpg Subject: John Singer Sargent (1856–1925; American artist and portrait painter)
1895 Portrait of a Man Wearing a Top Hat: Poet Hanvin, from the Figaro, oil on panel Giovanni boldini - retrato de homem com cartola (o poeta hanvin, o homem do figaro) 01.jpg
1901 Portrait of Mme. Lina Cavalieri, oil on canvas view Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois Subject: Lina Cavalieri (1874-1944); Italian operatic soprano and diseuse)
1905 Portrait of Elizabeth Wharton Drexel, oil on canvas view Subject: Elizabeth Wharton Drexel (1868–1944; American author and Manhattan socialite)
1906 Portrait of Ethel Mary Crocker view Subject: lived 1891–1964; daughter of Mrs. William H. Crocker; later Countess de Limur.
1906 Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough, and Her Son, Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, oil on canvas view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Subjects: Consuelo Vanderbilt (1876–1964). Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill (1898–1956).
1908 Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati, with a Greyhound, oil Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), La Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) con un levriero.jpg Subject: Luisa Casati (1881–1957; Italian heiress and patroness of arts)
1911 Portrait of Princess Marthe Bibesco, oil on canvas Marthe Bibesco Boldini.jpg Subject: Marthe Bibesco (1886-1973)
Delivering the Despatch
Des Parisiennes Vanderbilt collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Gossip
Interior of the artist's studio with the portrait of Giovinetta Errazuriz
Kitchen Garden
La Passeggiata al Bois
Place Pigalle
Portrait of a Lady, Lina Bilitis, with two Pekineses
Portrait of a Man in a Church
Portrait of Anita De La Feria, The Spanish Dancer
Portrait of Countess Zichy
1924 Portrait of Donna Franca Florio, oil on canvas Boldini - Franca Florio.jpg
Portrait of Edgar Degas Subject: Edgar Degas (1834–1917)
Portrait of Lady Colin Campbell Subject: Gertrude Elizabeth Blood (1857–1911)
Portrait of Giovinetta Errazuriz
Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec by Giovanni Boldini.jpg Subject: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Portrait of J. A. M. Whistler Subject: James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
Portrait of Lady Phillips Subject: Dorothea Sarah Florence Alexandra (1863–1940)
1901 Portrait of Lina Cavalieri, oil on canvas Boldini (Lina Cavalieri).jpg Subject: Lina Cavalieri (1874-1944); Italian operatic soprano and diseuse)
Portrait of Madame Hugo, and her son
Portrait of Madame Josephina Alvear de Errazuriz
Portrait of Mlle. de Gillespie, La Dame de Biarritz
Mme Georges Victor-Hugo with her son
Portrait of Mrs. Howard-Johnston
Portrait of Rita de Acosta Lydig Subject: Rita de Acosta Lydig (1875-1929)
Portrait of Robert de Montesquiou Montesquiou, Robert de - Boldini.jpg Subject: Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921; French poet, writer, and dandy)
Portrait of the Marchesa Luisa Casati Giovanni Boldini - La marchesa Luisa Casati con penne di pavone (Portrait of the Marquise).jpg Subject: Luisa Casati (1881–1957; Italian heiress and patroness of arts)
Portrait of the young Subercaseuse
Portrait of Willy, the Writer Henri Gauthier-Villars
Repose in the Atelier
Self-Portrait
Spanish Dancer
Studies for the Portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati Subject: Luisa Casati (1881–1957; Italian heiress and patroness of arts)
The Black Sash
The Connoisseur
The Misses Muriel and Consuelo Vanderbilt

Prints and Drawings[edit]

Year Title Image Collection Comments
1883 Famous Connoisseur (Fameux Connaisseur), crayon and pencil on graph paper view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
1884 Portrait of the Artist, pen and brown ink view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
1885 Audience at a Parisian Theatre I (c. 1885), Graphite on cream wove paper Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1885 Audience at a Parisian Theatre II (c. 1885), Graphite on cream wove paper Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1897 Hansom Cabs, New York (c. 1897), black chalk on ruled paper view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
1897 Whistler Dozing, drypoint on paper view Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1904 Portrait of the Marquis de Biron (c. 1904), black chalk view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
1905 Portrait of a Lady (c. 1905), crayon on paper view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Portrait of Edward G. Kennedy, black graphite view Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Subject: lived 1849-1932.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Time. 3 April 1933 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,753658,00.html |url= missing title (help). 
  2. ^ id=Zz0bAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false| Dizionario degli Artisti Italiani Viventi: pittori, scultori, e Architetti.], by Angelo de Gubernatis. Tipe dei Successori Le Monnier, 1889, page 63.
  3. ^ The Independent, 13 May 2013
  4. ^ Samuel, Henry (4 Oct 2010). "Parisian flat containing €2.1 million painting lay untouched for 70 years". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 6 Oct 2010. 

Sources[edit]

  • T. Panconi, Boldini, L'uomo e la pittura, Pisa (Italy) 1998
  • E. Savoia (a cura di), Giovanni Boldini. Il dinamismo straordinario delle linee, (catalogo della mostra), Bologna (Italy) 1999
  • E. Savoia (a cura di), Omaggio a Giovanni Boldini, (catalogo della mostra), Bologna (Italy) 2001
  • T. Panconi, Giovanni Boldini, L'opera completa (Catalogo generale ragionato legale), Firenze (Italy) 2002
  • P. Dini e F. Dini, Giovanni Boldini 1842-1931. Catalogo ragionato, Torino, 2002
  • E. Savoia (a cura di), G. Boldini. Dalla macchia alla sperimentazione dinamica, (catalogo della mostra), Bologna (Italy) 2003
  • T. Panconi, Boldini Mon Amour (catalogo della mostra, con presentazione del ministro per i beni culturali), Pisa (Italy) 2008
  • E. Savoia (a cura di), Giovanni Boldini. Capolavori e opere inedite dall'atelier dell'artista, (catalogo della mostra), Milano (Italy) 2011
  • S. Bosi, E. Savoia, Giovanni Boldini. Il Narratore della "dolce vita" parigina, Treviso, Antiga Edizioni, 2011
  • T. Panconi, S. Gaddi, Boldini e la Belle Epoque (catalogo della mostra), Milano (Italy) 2011
  • S. Bosi, E. Savoia, La mostra di Giovanni Boldini del 1963 al Musée Jacquemart-André di Parigi da un album fotografico inedito, Milano (Italy) 2011
  • Giovanni Boldini. Capolavori e opere inedite dall'atelier dell'artista (Masterpieces and unpublished works from the Atelier of the artist) , by Enzo Savoia, Milan (Italy), Bottegantica, 60 exhibits, from 25/02/2011 to 28/05/2011.

External links[edit]

There is a portrait of a family by this painter in the Gulbenkian Art Museum in Lisbon,Portugal.