9 May 2022
Boldini. Pleasures and Days. A lecture on the exhibition at the Petit Palais, Paris (until 25 July 2022)
with Chris Boïcos
Born in Ferrara, Italy in 1842, Boldini spent most of his career in Paris where he died in 1931. He was a close friend of Degas and also of Proust and Count Montesquiou and moved in aristocratic and upper-class circles for most of his professional career. During his lifetime, he enjoyed considerable success, becoming the favorite portraitist of a wealthy and international clientele. In Paris, the fashion capital of the world, he had no equal when it came to portraying princesses and rich heiresses – always wearing beautiful and often bold dresses. His inimitable style – more theatrical and risqué than that of his great colleague, John Singer Sargent – was modern but very much at odds with the avant-garde of his era. As a result, he fell out of fashion when the high-flying social world he had depicted was shattered by WWI. This exhibition is, therefore, a unique opportunity for a modern audience to rediscover the aura, style and pretensions of the “Gilded Aged”or in France, the “Belle Epoque,” so flatteringly depicted by one of its greatest portraitists.
Giovanni Boldini, Crossing the Street, 1873-75
Clark Institute, Williamstown MA