signed and dated 'Boldini/1873' (lower left)
oil on panel
6 7/8 x 11 3/8 in. (17.2 x 28.9 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 14 June 1995, lot 39, as A Lady Lying in a Hammock.
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above.
‌T. Panconi, Giovanni Boldini: L'opera completa, Florence, 2002, p. 153, illustrated.
‌P. Dini and F. Dini, Boldini, Catalogo ragionato, Turin, 2004, vol. I, p. 160, vol. III, pp. 94-95, no. 153, illustrated.

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Joshua Glazer
Joshua Glazer Specialist, Head of Private Sales

Lot Essay

In 1871 a young Giovanni Boldini arrived in Paris, stepping away from a burgeoning career as a portraitist in Italy hoping to establish a name for himself in the artistic capital of the world. In the City of Light, Boldini achieved meteoric success, attracting the attention and support of one of the most influential dealers, Adolphe Goupil, as well as other rising young artists such as John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler and Edgar Degas. With the help of these already established cultural luminaries and Boldini’s own exceptional artistic skill, Paris’ nouveau-riche and its well-heeled visitors readily opened their doors to the aspiring Italian. It was not long before the young artist could count among his clients Robert de Montesquiou, Consuelo Vanderbilt the Duchess of Marlborough, the composer Giuseppe Verdi and others.
Painted shortly after Boldini had settled in Paris, L'amaca relates closely to a series of small paintings depicting young girls in landscape or garden settings. The paintings he executed during his early years in Paris are characteristically virtuoso jewels painted on small wooden panels. These Belle Époque genre scenes, executed in Boldini’s unique, spontaneous brushwork became immediately popular with both European and American collectors.
The present work, painted in the countryside outside of Paris, depicts Boldini’s model and mistress, Berthe, lying in a hammock, perhaps half-asleep, her parasol discarded in the leaves beneath her and her black fan fallen onto the vibrantly-colored hammock. In Berthe, Boldini found the quintessential elements of the modern Parisian woman. She was an exquisite model, whose capricious, cunning and changeable personality captivated the artist. Here, Boldini has chosen to capture Berthe in a more subdued moment, her languid form draped sensuously in the hammock, one leg daintily dangling off the edge, her black-gloved hand gently touching her throat. The black gloves are particularly striking against the brilliant white and soft pink of his model’s costume. His use of short, sharp brushstrokes and bright jewel-like colors simultaneously capture light, form, movement and expression with a sparkling and dizzying energy, concentrated as they are on the surface of the small panel. This idea of a beautifully dressed woman depicted out-of-doors is in the tradition of Monet’s Women in the Garden (1866, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), and portraits of his wife, Camille, as well as Renoir’s Lise with a Parasol (1867, Museum Folkwang, Essen), but here Boldini has captured the essence of beauty enhanced by a light-filled landscape that clearly exemplifies the tenets of Impressionism, but imbued with and enhanced by the artist’s own unique style.

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