giovanni boldini*

Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842 - 1931)

A Path Through Trees in the Bois de Boulogne, N/D

Watercolour, with some traces of an underdrawing in pencil, 538 x 367 mm


An apartment discovered in Paris, after being left untouched for 70 years.

It was originally abandoned during world war 2, and the rent continued to be paid every month without fail until the death of the owner, the granddaughter of a Parisian socialite named  Marthe de Florian.

The secret love story between Italian artist Giovanni Boldini and de Florian was revealed after the discovery of a painting by artist and the accompanying letter. The piece was estimated at a value of 2 million Euros.

Cléo de Mérode (1901). Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931). Oil on canvas.

Cléo de Mérode (1875-1966), an international sensation and one of the most photographed woman in the world in her time, was a French ballerina, who achieved fame with her face, not her feet. Cléo was a good dancer but her beauty caught the public’s eye. By 13, she already had posed for Jean-Louis Forain and Edgar Degas, who often sketched her.

Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931)
“Profile of a Young Woman”
Oil on panel

Boldini was an Italian painter who lived and worked in Paris for most of his career. According to a 1933 article in Time magazine, he was known as the “Master of Swish” because of his flowing style of painting.

Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931)
“Robert de Montesquiou” (1897)
Located in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Montesquiou (1855-1921) was a French aesthete, Symbolist poet, art collector and dandy.

Giovanni Boldini, Lady in a Red Coat, 1878.

Portrait of a Lady; Mrs Lionel Phillips (1903). Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931). Oil on canvas. Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. 

Boldini painted with sense of dynamism and dramatic tonal contrasts. The pale flesh tones of the face contrast dramatically with the black dress and dark background. This effect is intensified by the contrast in technique, modelling of the face with the long flowing strokes of the other areas, especially her large feather fan. Boldini gives a suggestion of movement, emphasised here by the twisted pose of the figure when viewed from a high angle.