Connoisseurs in an Artist's studio, circa 1884-85
with inscription 'No. 73B atelier Boldini/Emilia Boldini-Cardona/1931' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
34.9 x 26.7 cm / 13.7 x 10.5 in
The Artist's studio sale; Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 30 June 1936;
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 25 June 1998, lot 193;
with Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., London;
Christie's London, 1998
Atelier Jean Boldini, Galerie Jean Charpentier, Parigi 30 giugno, 1936
Atelier Boldini et dis amateurs, prefazione di Sacha Guitry, Galerie Charpentier, Parigi, 16 giugno 1955, n. 36
T. Panconi, Giovanni Boldini. L'uome e la pittura, Pacini, Pisa 1998. n. 59, p. 147
B. Doria, Giovanni Boldini. Catalogo generale dagli archivi Boldini, Rizzoli, Milano 2000, n. 442
Piero Dini, Francesca Dini: "Boldini Catalogo Ragionato 1842-1931", U. Allemandi, 2002 n. 399
Forli, Boldini, lo spettacolo
della modernità, 1 February-14 June 2015,
Castiglioncello, Boldini, Helleu, Sem:
protagonisti e miti della Belle Époque, 7 July-12 November 2006,
Padova, Palazzo Zabarella, Boldini, 15 January-29 May 2005, no. 8.
Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, Edgar Dégas and the Italians in Paris, 2004.
New York, Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., An Exhibition of Master
Drawings and Paintings, 16 January-21 February
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Atelier Boldini et à divers
amateurs, Paris, 16 June 1955, no.
Born in Ferrara in 1842, Giovanni Boldini moved to Paris in 1871. There he became a friend of the most prominent artists of the period, such as Edgar Degas and John Singer Sargent. The present work is thought to represent Paul-César Helleu in his studio (identified with the man at the centre of the composition holding a picture, cfr. P. Dini and F. Dini, 2002, Vol. I, p. 189.). The elderly man on the left, appearing also in other works by the artist in the late 1880's, remains unidentified.
The work seems to reflect upon other artist studios’ depictions, such as Corot’s or Fantin-Latour’s. However, here no symbolic allusions are intended. Furthermore, being a quick sketch, the painting offers an insight into the artist’s process. The figures are delineated with quick brushstrokes that transform an ordinary scene into an energetic one.
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