Giovanni Boldini (Ferrara 1842 - Paris 1931)

Two Drawings of the Audience at a Parisian Theatre Sold

a. Pencil, drawn on a page from a small sketchbook.
Inscribed (by Emilia Cardona Boldini) no 154n atelier Boldini / Emilia Boldini-Cardona / 1937 on the verso.
93 x 150 mm. (3 5/8 x 7/8 in.)

b. Pencil, drawn on a page from a small sketchbook.
Inscribed (by Emilia Cardona Boldini) no 43e atelier Boldini. – Emilia Boldini Cardona / 1937 on the verso.
93 x 150 mm. (3 5/8 x 7/8 in.)

ACQUIRED BY THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.

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These two sketchbook drawings are related to a series of compositions of a Parisian theatre audience, viewed from the orchestra pit, in which the scroll and tuning pegs of a cello is a prominent element in the immediate foreground. A pair of pencil sketches for this composition, also from a small sketchbook, are in the collection of the Museo Boldini in Ferrara, which also houses an unfinished pastel study for the same composition. A fluid oil sketch was sold at an auction of the some of the contents of Boldini’s studio in 1933 and is today in a private collection, as is another unfinished pastel study for the same composition.

These various sketches and studies - in pencil, pastel and oil - culminated in a large finished pastel of c.1886, today in a private collection. In each of these works, Boldini focuses his attentions not on the performance itself or the musicians, but on the characters in the audience, viewed from an unusual vantage point in a manner akin to some of the theatre paintings of his friend Degas.

Provenance:
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, Pistoia.

Literature:
Vito Doria, Boldini: Inedito / Inédit / Unpublished work, Bologna, 1982, p.24 (b. only, illustrated in reverse); Pietro M. Bardi, ‘Da ‘Boldini e il suo tempo”’, in Milan, Palazzo della Permanente, Boldini, exhibition catalogue, 1989, both drawings illustrated p.49; Piero Dini and Francesca Dini, Giovanni Boldini 1842-1931: Catalogo ragionato. Vol.I: La vita e l’iter artistico, Turin, 2002, p.248, fig.D15 (b only); Tiziano Panconi, ed., Boldini Mon Amour: opere note e mai viste, nuove scoperte, fotografie e documenti inediti, exhibition catalogue, Montecatini Terme, 2008, illustrated pp.430 and 433; Bianca Doria, I disegni di Giovanni Boldini. Catalogo generale: Disegni dagli Archivi Boldini, Bologna, 2011, unpaginated, nos.1464 and 1517.

Giovanni BOLDINI

Two Drawings of the Audience at a Parisian Theatre

374

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