21 November 1996
Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931)
Place Pigalle, con omnibus a Cavalli, Paris
authenticated and numbered and dated by the artist's wife 'no. 112P inv. at. Boldini/Emilia Boldini Cardona/1931' on the reverse
oil on canvas
18¼ x 15 in. (46.3 x 38 cm.)
The Hon. Mrs. Reginald Fellowes and thence by descent to the present owner.
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C. Ragghianti and E. Camesasca, L'Opera completa di Boldini, Milan, 1970, p. 93, no. 31AC (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Jean Charpentier, 7 May 1931, no. 142P.
Buenos Aires, Galleria Wildenstein, 1948, no. 9.
In 1872 Boldini moved from Avenue Frochot to Place Pigalle where he lived for fourteen years. The city life of cafés and busy streets inspired him and, together with Degas, he often left the confines of his studio, painting and drawing the scenes of Parisian life.
In 1874 Boldini painted two important compositions, Place Clichy (Marzotto Collection, Valdagna) and Place Pigalle (location unknown). Our picture, probably painted in 1874, is a study for Place Pigalle. A more finished study was sold by Christie's, New York, 1 November 1995, lot 17.
These spontaneous drawings and sketches are in contrast to the small-scale eighteenth century style interiors which he was producing for the dealer Adolphe Goupil during this period.
1874 also marked a turning point in Boldini's career, as this was the first year he exhibited at the Paris Salon. It was also the year of the opening exhibition of the Impressionists at the Salon des Refusés, a movement by which this sketch is greatly influenced.
The most significant bronzes to come to market in years, and a scaled-down version of marble figures from the gardens at Versailles
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