- Giovanni Boldini
- Signora Diaz Albertini
- signed and dated Boldini / 1909 lower left
- oil on canvas
- 104.5 by 97.5cm., 41 by 38½in.
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
The colours are richer and brighter than in the printed catalogue, with more of a warm pink tone overall in reality. Please see Sothebys.com for an updated image.
The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., 13 and 14 Mason's Yard, St James', London, SW1Y 6BU:
UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE
The canvas is lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher. This is providing an even and stable structural support.
The paint surface has a relatively even varnish layer. The paint surface has overall pattern of paint shrinkage throughout the composition. This appears stable. There are also small scattered areas of drying craquelure, most notably within the background in the upper part of the composition. These are also stable.
Inspection under ultra-violet light shows scattered retouchings, the most significant of which are:
1) lines of retouching covering shrinkage within the sitter's hair, chest, dress and the furs covering her left arm, and a few further lines on the sitter's face,
2) an area of small retouchings within the sitter's furs in the lower left of the composition, and
3) lines of retouching covering craquelure and shrinkage within the background.
Other spots and lines of retouching are also visible.
The painting would therefore appear to be in relatively good and stable condition having undergone restoration work in the past.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
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.