Lot 116
  • 116

Luigi Bechi

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  • Luigi Bechi
  • The Artist's Studio
  • signed L.Bechi (lower left)

  • oil on canvas


Private Collection (since circa 1925)
Thence by descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

Italian genre painter Luigi Bechi was born in Florence in 1830 and studied under Giuseppe Bezzuoli, one of the leading proponents of Romanticism in Italy. Bechi achieved critical and commercial success throughout his career with his depictions of jovial peasant children and families engaged in simple daily tasks and he even won a medal at the Florence exhibition of 1879. The Artist's Studio is a classic example of Bechi's direct style of genre painting. Here an aging artist instructs his young model on how to pose for a painting he is creating, or perhaps his visitor is a granddaughter or niece and he is orchestrating a game of make-believe. He playfully facilitates an introduction between the child and the mannequin. The child, draped in what is pretended to be fine fabrics, duly curtsies to the mannequin's outstretched hand. The modest studio is far from the cosmopolitan, object-filled rooms of the bourgeois Parisian artists, but Bechi's suggestion of the power of childhood imagination and fantasy is a compelling note on the transportive possibilities of art.


Fellow Italian artist Giovanni Boldini explored the same theme of the mannequin in the artist's studio with his Model and Mannequin - Berthe in the Studio. In Boldini's painting, Berthe is flung across the lap of the wooden mannequin, her arm swung carelessly over his shoulder, her head recklessly thrown back as she inhales deeply from a cigarette. Though a far cry from the tender interaction between the tentative young child and gentle grandfather in Bechi's The Artist's Studio, both works interestingly feature the same style of mannequin, suggesting a shared working method by two very different artists.  

Please note this work will be sold unframed.