Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Paintings


Giovanni Boldini
1842 - 1931
signed and dated Boldini / 1909 lower left
oil on canvas
104.5 by 97.5cm., 41 by 38½in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report


Sale: Christie's, London, 24 June 1988, lot 119H
Private collection (acquired at the above sale)


Carlo Ragghianti and Ettore Camesasca, L'opera completa di Boldini, Milan, 1970, p. 149, no. 450, illustrated
Annuari di economia dell'arte. Il valore dei dipinti dell'800, Turin, 1983, p. 59
Bianca Doria, Giovanni Boldini. Catalogo generale dagli archivi Boldini, Milan, 2000, no. 546
Piero Dini, Francesca Dini, Giovanni Boldini, 1842-1931, Catalogo ragionato, Turin, 2002, vol. III, part 2, p. 503, no. 974, catalogued & illustrated
Tiziano Panconi, Giovanni Boldini l'opera completa, Florence, 2002, p. 505, catalogued & illustrated

Catalogue Note

Having subscribed to the ideas of the Macchiaioli in his early years, Boldini soon manifested an impulsive spirit drawn to more elegant and refined lines which he applied masterfully to the portrait genre. After a brief sojourn in London, in 1871 Boldini moved to Paris, which he had first visited in 1867 when invited to the Exposition Universelle by Walter Falconer, one of the first of his many aristocratic patrons. By the turn of the century, Boldini had developed a fast but firm brushstroke, a bright palette, and a dashing style which elegantly mirrored Parisian belle époque society and its personalities including John Singer Sargent, Giuseppe Verdi, Sarah Bernhardt and the Marchesa Casati. With such sitters, Boldini unquestionably became one of the most sought after portrait painters.

Diaz Albertini's portrait exudes lavishness and glamour. The long, knotted string of pearls, the golden bangles and the choker necklace, as well as the extravagant jewels and the expensive fur, are a mark of her place in high society and of her femininity, as she stares proudly at the viewer, comfortable in her gestures and in her own being.

Boldini’s talent as an artist was combined with an ability to capture the character of his sitters. In an article published in Les Modes, in January 1901, Count Robert de Montesquiou reflects on 'modern portrait' and how it should combine the personality of the painter and that of the model, rather than rely on photographic verisimilitude. For this reason, he saw in Boldini the modern portraitist par excellence. Boldini was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1889.   

19th Century European Paintings