Lot 1
  • 1

Giovanni Boldini

150,000 - 200,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Giovanni Boldini
  • A Girl Wearing a Red Shawl
  • signed Boldini (lower left)
  • watercolor and gouache on paper
  • 11 3/4 by 9 1/2 in.
  • 30 by 24 cm


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This work on paper is mounted on paper board in order to give it some stability; this may be its original support. The paper does not appear to have noticeably discolored. There is no visible weakness throughout the work or any fading to the watercolor itself; the body color is strong and healthy. The work should be hung as is.
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Catalogue Note

Boldini was often commissioned to paint children and it is clear that he had an ability to capture their personalities as much as their likenesses. The present work is related to Girl with a Red Shawl (Fanciulla con scialle rosso, 1883, Dini no. 359, fig. 1), and prompts the viewer to imagine Boldini’s process and the artistic dialogue that may have transpired between him and his sitter.

In the oil painting, the girl looks directly at the viewer, her chin pointing down with wide eyes peering up from under her arched eyebrows, clasping a red shawl to frame her face. It becomes clear that certain elements captivated Boldini as he has emphasized them in the watercolor as well – her hair is carefully articulated with a fine brush, it’s weight and sheen rendered as if it were heavy black strands of silk; her wide set darkly lashed eyes are also powerfully drawn in the present work, darting up and to the side from under her characteristic brows, again defined with a thin brush. Her hands, central to both compositions, strike a complicated pose and are expertly described as they rest on what appears to be the back of a chair. The shawl itself, its open criss-cross weave so clearly articulated in the oil, is represented here by an abstract web of poppy-red brush-strokes, effortlessly contrasted against the spare background.

All of these elements create the impression that the sitter is assured, glamorous in her own way, and comfortable in Boldini’s presence. Similar to his portrait of Giovinetta Errazuriz (1892, Dini, no. 582, and sold in these rooms, November 4, 2010, lot 75, for $6,578,500), Boldini is drawing her coquettish self-possession and giving the viewer a glimpse of this girl’s unambiguous charm.