Giovanni Boldini (Ferrara 1842 - Paris 1931)

A Parisian Theatre Audience Sold

Pencil, drawn on a page from a small sketchbook.
Partially inscribed (by Emilia Cardona Boldini) no 104le at. B. E. [indistinct] at the lower left margin.
Numbered 104 le and 138-35652/23 on the verso.
151 x 93 mm. (5 7/8 x 3 5/8 in.)


Boldini produced a large number of pencil drawings and sketches of audiences at Parisian theatres, and several examples of these are today in the Museo Boldini in Ferrara and elsewhere. Other comparable drawings by the artist include three pages from a similar small sketchbook, each depicting the composer Giuseppe Verdi and his second wife, the former soprano Giuseppina Strepponi, in the audience at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris. As one recent scholar has noted, ‘The subject of spectators clearly fascinated Boldini, as the large number of pencil and painted sketches suggest.’

A page from the artist’s sketchbook, this drawing is a preparatory study for a large, unfinished pastel by Giovanni Boldini, in the collection of the Museo Boldini in Ferrara. Two further pages from the same sketchbook and sharing the same provenance as the present sheet have recently been acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago.

Among the contents of Boldini’s Paris studio at the time of his death
The artist’s widow, Emilia Cardona Boldini, Ferrara
By descent to her nephew, Mario Murari
Private collection, Italy.

Tiziano Panconi, ed., Boldini Mon Amour: opere note e mai viste, nuove scoperte, fotografie e documenti inediti, exhibition catalogue, Montecatini Terme, 2008, illustrated p.434; Bianca Doria, I disegni di Giovanni Boldini. Catalogo generale: Disegni dagli Archivi Boldini, Bologna, 2011, unpaginated, no.1462.

Giovanni BOLDINI

A Parisian Theatre Audience


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