Boldini at the petit palais. 


HI friends!

the little art seeker saw for you the gorgeous exhibition dedicated to Boldini the talented painter of the Paris of la belle époque.

Giovanni Boldini was one of the great portrait painter of his time.However the man was victim of his own success.

Accused of repeating the same formula over and over and for deriving personal and economic gain for it, far from the traditional image of the bohemian artist, he did not conform to any rules.

An incredible innovator, he was faithful also to the masters of the past while capturing the energy of modernity.thanks to his twirling brushstrokes.

He was above all the painter of a vibrant age and rubbed shoulders with the society he painted,thereby providing an ample testimony to its characters, tastes and pleasures.

Giovanni Boldini. Portrait of Mary Donegani.1869.

Boldini’s Parisian debut:1871-1880

On 23 October 1871, Boldini arrived in Paris for a brief stay.It was just after the Franco-Prussian war and the civil war of la commune and France was in peace.In Paris, he met the merchant Adolphe Goupil.

He decided to set aside his vocation as a portait painter and choose to perform genre paintings of small dimensions with characters in 18th century clothing that pleased the bourgeoisie.

He became also a landscape painter focusing his paintings on the seaside town of Etretat, which soon became a fashionable seaside town.

Success came quickly and his paintings gave the image of a peaceful French society ,far removed from the trouble days of the Commune.

Giovanni Boldini.The art lover.1870
Giovanni Boldini.Peaceful days or young woman crocheting.1875.
Giovanni Boldini.Spring or peasants and dogs.1872

The rythm of the city

Towards the end of the 19 th century,Paris was a modern city with its major trafic arteries,general omnibus company and its electric lighting making of it the city of light!

Boldini took inspiration with the world around him and the city with its pleasures that so fascinated foreigners.

To capture the speed and rythm of the city,the painter made use of audacious framing techniques all of which anticipated the cinematic gaze.He was the painter of the Parisian life with a great originality.

Giovanni Boldini.1873-1875.Crossing the street.
Giovanni Boldini.Conversation at the café.1879.
Giovanni Boldini.Omnibus on place Pigalle.1882.

Artistic and literary circles

After the Exposition universelle of 1889,Boldini decided to paint the leading figures of his time.Under his brush an incredible gallery of portraits was born,allowing us to admire the cosmopolitan,frivolous and decadents protagonists of Parisian high society , described by Proust in Search of lost time.

Like Proust,Boldini sought to capture in his portraits the unique essence of the individual.

if many of his models’s names are forgotten today,they nevertheless evoke the ”lost time”dear to Proust of such a singular epoch.

Giovanni Boldini.portrait of count Robert of Montesquiou.1897
Giovanni Boldini.Firework.1892-1895
Giovanni Boldini.Portrait of lady Colin Campbell

The age of elegance and high society

By the late 19th century,Paris had become the international benchmark for elegance and fashion.Boldini was hailed as the painter of women in the first review « les Modes »in January 1901.Under his brush,we can glimpse the glittering world of princesses and countesses as well as the demi-monde of actresses and dancers.

Far from being just a fashionable painter,Boldini was an avant-gardist in that he dictated the fashion .The most famous belle époque figures paraded through his studio,with their large playful eyes and serpentine bodies,the women celebrated by Boldini became an archetype.

The painter relished his role as demiurge by imposing his own gaze on his subjects forcing them to correspond to an idealized beauty that led some of them to embark on weight loss cures to correspond to the Boldini muse.

Boldini was the true painter of his time but also of a world on the verge to disappear:the Paris of la belle époque.

Giovanni Boldini.The lady in pink or portrait of Olivia de Subercaseaux Concha.
Giovanni Boldini.Portrait of Madame Eugène Schneider with her son Charles.1903
Portrait of Miss Lantelme.1907.Giovanni Boldini.

Giovanni Boldini.Portrait of Miss Bell.1903.
Giovanni Boldini.A walk in the Bois.1909
Giovanni Boldini.Portrait of princess Bibesco.1911
Boldini on the right of the picture.

So if you visit Paris in the months to come,visit this gorgeous exhibition that will make you discover the Paris of la belle époque!

The little art seeker loved it !