Galleria Bottegantica, Milan
Four years after the last exhibition, Giovanni Boldini Opere su Carta, Bottegantica is once again paying tribute to this great master from Ferrara with a monographic exhibition dedicated to the timeless charm of his work, entitled Eterno Boldini [Eternal Boldini].
This exhibition, curated by Francesca Dini, a top expert on the artist and author of the Catalogue Raisonné of Giovanni Boldini’s work, traces the artist’s career from his first years in Paris to the female portraits of the early 20th century through a careful juxtaposition of known and never-published works. The exhibition will bring together a judicious, wide-ranging selection of paintings, watercolours and drawings, with the aim of highlighting the artist’s versatility, the compositional skill in his works, the refinement of his drawings and his virtuosity as a painter.
The early Parisian years during which Boldini worked for the famous Maison Goupil will be represented by two much-sought-after small-scale oils, peerless in their use of colour and details, Old Song – one of the first panels painted around 1871 according to that manner in vogue to be found in the painting of Meissonier and Fortuny, much appreciated at the time – and a Romantic Scene in the Gardens of Versailles from 1877 – a genre scene, charming and graceful, featuring two lovers in 18th-century costume. In order to better grasp the Rococo pageantry and observe en plein air the park’s vegetation and the effects of the light, Boldini briefly stayed in the town of Versailles. And it is precisely the Gardens of Versailles that would remain a part of Boldini’s imagery, evoked almost nostalgically in some late-century drawings, such as Colonnade in Versailles (1890-1899), whose arches are rendered with a few essential strokes.
The elegance, sophistication and internationality of the Parisian artistic milieu also served as a backdrop to an unpublished watercolour, The Artist’s Atelier, dating to around 1874; a still life of objects skilfully arranged on the floor of a studio. The setting of the atelier is recalled in the well-known Portrait of the Painter Joaquin Araujo y Ruano, Boldini’s colleague and friend, with the same objects scattered on the floor – including a black and white striped lute – recalling Mariano Fortuny’s personal collection. To this early Parisian period also date some paintings of half-bust figures on display, such as The Spanish Woman (circa 1878), or actual portraits such as Réjane on Stage (circa 1878-1884), an unpublished oil depicting the actress Gabrielle Réjane, portrayed several times by the artist who was an avid admirer of her.
Attention will also be paid to the rendition of the landscape, in particular his beloved Venice, visited several times after the late ’80s and captured not only in countless paintings, including Gondolas in Front of St. Mark’s Square (ca. 1895) but also in many drawings, by then with a dense and dynamic stroke as in Palaces on the Grand Canal (1890-1899), or softer and more summary as in Moorings and Gondolas (1880-1889).
The great portrait season of the early 20th century, on the other hand, includes some important paintings, including the Portrait of Lady Nanne Schrader, a noted concert artist and organizer of musical events whom Boldini portrayed in 1903, and the Portrait of Señora Matías de Errázuriz Ortúzar (1912), a member of one of the most influential families in Argentina and wife of the Chilean Ambassador in Paris, immortalized on several occasions by Boldini. Two large portraits, clear examples of the modern portrait of which Boldini was an unrivalled master – as Robert de Montesquiou wrote. This Parisian poet praised these portraits as embodying the women’s feminine ideal and described them, with an evocative synaesthesia, as femme-fleurs. Self-confident and nonchalant, Lady Schrader and Señora Matías de Errázuriz Ortúzar are immersed in two predominant tones – white for the first and coral for the second – warm tones which seem redolent of aromas.
Finally, in addition to a selection of drawings from the artist’s Atelier, there will also be an unpublished album of drawings dating from around 1879-1880; an exceptional sketchbook which, for the incredible variety of subjects, among the most complete sketches and compositions, emphasizes the centrality of drawing in Boldini’s work, the first expressive medium in his constant quest to capture the present.
Bottegantica continues its work of studying and promoting one of the greatest artists of the 19th century in Italy; unceasing research which all began back in 1999 with the exhibition Giovanni Boldini. Il Dinamismo Straordinario delle Linee, the first of seven monographic exhibitions dedicated to the “Eternal Boldini”.
To learn more about the exhibition: https://studioesseci.net/mostre/eterno-boldini/.
ETERNO BOLDINI – curated by Francesca Dini
Milan, Galleria Bottegantica
Via Manzoni 45
OCTOBER 14 – DECEMBER 3, 2022
Hours: from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10-13; 15-19
(+39) 02 62695489 – (+39) 02 35953308
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STUDIO ESSECI, Sergio Campagnolo
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