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Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931)
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Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931)

Donna Franca Florio

Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931)
Donna Franca Florio
signed 'Boldini' (lower right)
oil on canvas
26½ x 21½ in. (66.8 x 54.6 cm.)
Painted circa 1924.
Atelier Boldini, no. 92T.
Enrico Piceni, Milan.
Mr. and Mrs. Lee Hills, Detroit.
Detroit Institute of Arts (gift from the above), Detroit.
Their sale; Christie's, New York, 23 April 2002, lot 6.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. L. Ragghianti and E. Camesasca, L'Opera completa di Boldini, Milan, 1970, pp. 132-133, no. 575 (illustrated).
B. Doria, Giovanni Boldini: Catalogo generale dagli archivi Boldini, Milan, 2000, no. 687 (illustrated).
P. Dini and F. Dini, Giovanni Boldini 1897-1931i: Catalogo ragionato, Turin-London-Venice, 2004, vol. III, part 2, p. 599, no. 1178 (illustrated).
T. Panconi, Giovanni Boldini. L'Opera Completa, Florence, 2002, p. 595 (illustrated).
New York, Wildenstein & Co., A Loan Exhibition of Degas for the Benefit of the New York Infirmary, 7 April-14 May 1949, no. 38.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Lot Essay

Donna Franca Jacona della Motta dei baroni di San Giuliano (1873-1950) was considered by Jean Philippe Worth to be the best-dressed and most beautiful woman in Italy, while her husband’s fortune afforded her the life of a sovereign. At the age of 19, Donna Franca married Don Ignazio Florio (1869-1957).
The Florio family owned, among other estates, the Villa Igiea and Villino all’Olivuzza in Palermo where they entertained royalty, including Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany. While Don Ignazio’s enterprises included the Marsala Florio, his other projects resulted in the Teatro Massimo, the Palermo Hospital and the Institute for the Blind, which competed in grandeur with the latest government constructions, such as the Palace of Justice in Rome.
The famous full-length portrait of the sitter, sold at Christie’s in 1995, is considered one of Boldini’s most accomplished masterpieces.
The present portrait, datable circa 1924, shows the sitter in a more natural and intimate pose, gazing at the viewer, with a simple but shimmering short pearl necklace.

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