Giovanni Boldini, Gallant scene in the Park of Versailles1877, Oil on wood, 24 x 14.5 cm
It is eternal Giovanni Boldini in the poetic rendering of his timeless painting that is preparing to return to the halls of the Galleria Bottegantica in Milan four years after the last exhibition dedicated to the works on paper of the master from Ferrara. The appointment is scheduled for autumn when, from 14 October to 3 December, a monographic exhibition entitled Eternal Boldini will turn the spotlight on the timeless charm of his work.
Giovanni Boldini, Old song, 1871-72, Oil on wood, 23 x 15 cm
The path, curated by Francesca Dini, will browse the painter’s career, from the early Parisian years to female portraits of the early twentieth century, putting in dialogue known masterpieces and unpublished works and bringing together a wide selection of paintings, watercolors and drawings, with the intent to enhance the versatility of the artist, a refined draftsman and virtuoso painter.
Two refined small oils will accompany visitors to discover the early Parisian years during which Boldini worked for the famous Maison Goupil. The manière à la mode that sinks into the painting of Meissonier and Fortuny, much appreciated at the time, makes its way through Old song – one of the first painted panels around 1871 – to explode in Gallant scene in the Park of Versailles from 1877, a genre scene, charming and graceful, where the gaze of the public engages two lovers in eighteenth-century costumes. In order to better convey the Rococo splendor, for a better rendering of the park’s vegetation and the luminous element, Boldini stayed for a short time in Versailles.
Giovanni Boldini, Gondolas in front of St. Mark’s Square, around 1895, Oil on wood, 24.5 x 35 cm
It is this park, almost nostalgically evoked in some turn-of-the-century drawings, such as Colonnade in Versailles (1890-1899) will remain firmly in the painter’s imagination. But it is in the unprecedented watercolor, The artist’s atelier, datable to 1874 – a still life of objects cleverly composed on the floor of a studio – that the elegance, refinement and internationality of the Parisian artistic milieu find their perfect rendering. The setting of the painter’s atelier is evoked in Portrait of the painter Joaquin Araujo y Ruanocolleague and friend of Boldini, while the objects scattered on the ground – including a black and white striped lute – recall the personal collection of Mariano Fortuny.
Giovanni Boldini, The artist’s atelier, circa 1874, Watercolor in gouache, 230 x 300 mm
The period spent in the Ville Lumière will also relive in the exhibition through some paintings of half-length figures, such as The Spanish girl (Circa 1878), or with authentic portraits such as La Rejane on stage (1878-1884 circa), an unpublished oil that portrays the actress Gabrielle Rejane several times portrayed by Boldini, her great admirer.
Do not miss the landscape, present in the exhibition with the beloved Venice, visited since the end of the Eighties, which peeps out from numerous tables, such as Gondolas in front of Piazza San Marco (About 1895), and drawings, among which Palaces on the Grand Canal (1890-1899) or Moorings and gondolas (1880-1889).
Giovanni Boldini, La Spagnola, around 1878, Oil on wood, 45 x 55 cm
The portrait season of the early twentieth century instead makes its way with Lady Nanne Schraderfamous concert artist and organizer of musical events portrayed in 1903, or with the Portrait of the Señora Matías de Errázuriz Ortúzar (1912), belonging to one of the most influential families in Argentina and wife of the Chilean ambassador in Paris. Self-confident and casual, Lady Schrader and Señora Matías de Errázuriz Ortúzar are wrapped in two predominant tones – white for the first and coral for the second – enveloping hues that seem to inebriate the beholder with the scents of their dresses.
Alongside the drawings from the artist’s atelier, the Galleria Bottegantica exhibition will unveil an unpublished album of drawings made between 1879 and 1880. This exceptional notebook, populated by an incredible variety of subjects, including sketches and more accomplished compositions, once again highlights the centrality of drawing in the work of the refined portraitist, the first means of expression in his constant search to capture the present.
The exhibition, with free admission, can be visited from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 13 and from 15 to 19.
Giovanni Boldini, Señora Matías de Errázuriz Ortúzar, née Josefina Virginia de Alvear Fernández Coronel, 1912, Oil on canvas, 98.5 x 153 cm