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

Signora seduta con gatto

Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931)
Signora seduta con gatto
signed 'Boldini' (lower left)
oil on panel
9 ½ x 7 5/8 in. (24.1 x 19.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1871.
Private collection, Merion Station (Philadelphia), USA.
Anonymous sale; Fuller's Fine Art Auctions, Philadelphia, 25 April 2009, lot 55.
with Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2010.
F. Dini, 'Boldini e gli artisti italiani di Parigi', in Boldini e gli italiani a Parigi. Tra realtà e impressione, exhibition catalogue, Milan, 2009, pp. 24-25, no. 5 (illustrated).
Forlì, Musei San Domenico, Boldini, lo spettacolo della modernità, 1 February-14 June 2015, no. 129.
New York, Jean-Luc Baroni LTD.: An Exhibition of Master Drawings and Paintings, 22 January-2 February 2010, no. 36.

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Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

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Lot Essay

In 1871, a young Giovanni Boldini travelled to London and Paris, leaving behind his burgeoning career as a portraitist in Italy to establish himself in the ‘City of Light’. It was in Paris that Boldini enjoyed great success, attracting the attention and support of influential dealers like Adolphe Goupil as well as artists John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler and Edgar Degas. The present jewel-like work can be dated
circa 1871, and was possibly painted during his trip to London or upon his arrival in Paris. Dott.ssa Francesca Dini suggests that the present work should be included in the very small part of the artist’s œuvre created in London, and is to date, the only traceable portrait amongst the ones produced whilst residing in England. When Boldini visited London, between May and October 1871, he had the chance to attend the International Exhibition, where he came into contact with the work of Alfred Stevens, an artist he greatly admired and who influenced his works of that period.
This intimate work depicts an elegant lady, sitting in a bourgeois interior in a black dress. A cat is rubbing up the leg of the sitter, who is sweetly gazing at the viewer. The strong reds of the carpet and armchair and the yellow of the sitter’s gloves punctuate the composition. 
The fluid brushstrokes anticipate the freedom and rapidity that characterise the works produced in Paris on commission for the dealer Goupil, most likely datable to 1871-1877, and his later paintings. Created especially for the rising middle class as well as the already established wealthy classes, the series celebrated the aesthetic and costume of 18th Century. 
The present work has been signed and numbered on the reverse by Emilia Cardona Boldini and the authenticity has kindly been confirmed by Dott.ssa Francesca Dini.

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