Giovanni Boldini and his Belle Époque catwalk

Giovanni Boldini celebrated women, elegance, and the lightheartedness of Paris during the Belle Époque, in the years when he lived in the French capital and expressed his unique style on canvas, with refined sabers of color, willowy bodies, and enigmatic gazes – captured just an instant before time can seize them, inexorable, at the height of their ephemeral, irresistible, youthful grace.

Boldini (Ferrara, 1842-Paris, 1931) studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence and then moved to Paris in 1871; there, he mingled at the most fashionable salons, with ladies of high society and great masters of the time, such as Degas, Sisley, and Manet.

Here is a selection of his women’s portraits, composing a haute couture catwalk – with a glimpse into private, warm boudoirs.

Giovanni Boldini, "Mademoiselle Lanthelme", 1907

"Mademoiselle Lanthelme", 1907

Giovanni Boldini, "La fascia nera", 1905 - "The Black Sash"

"The Black Sash", 1905

Giovanni Boldini, "Mrs Howard Johnston", 1906

"Mrs Howard Johnston", 1906

Giovanni Boldini, "Mademoiselle de Nemidoff", 1908

"Mademoiselle de Nemidoff", 1908

Giovanni Boldini, "Donna Franca Florio", 1912

"Donna Franca Florio", 1912

Giovanni Boldini, "Countess Zichy", 1905

"Countess Zichy", 1905

Giovanni Boldini, "Betty Wertheimer", 1902

"Betty Wertheimer", 1902

Giovanni Boldini, "Gladys Deacon", 1905-08

"Gladys Deacon", 1905-08

Giovanni Boldini, "Madame Juillard in Red", 1912

"Madame Juillard in Red", 1912

Giovanni Boldini, "Princess Marthe-Lucile Bibesco", 1911

"Princess Marthe-Lucile Bibesco", 1911

Giovanni Boldini "Marchesa Franzoni", 1892

"Marchesa Franzoni", 1892

Giovanni Boldini, "Rita de Acosta Lydig", 1911

"Rita de Acosta Lydig", 1911

Giovanni Boldini, "Lady in Rose", 1916

"Lady in Rose", 1916

Giovanni Boldini, "Countess de Rasty Seated in an Armchair", 1878

"Countess de Rasty Seated in an Armchair", 1878

Giovanni Boldini, "Lady Colin Campbell", 1897

"Lady Colin Campbell", 1897

Giovanni Boldini , "Mademoiselle de Gillespie, ‘La Dame de Biarritz’", 1912

"Mademoiselle de Gillespie, ‘La Dame de Biarritz’", 1912

Giovanni Boldini, "Mrs Diaz Albertini", 1909

"Mrs Diaz Albertini", 1909

Giovanni Boldini, "Cléo de Mérode", 1901

"Cléo de Mérode", 1901

Giovanni Boldini, "Lady with a Black Hat", 1890

"Lady with a Black Hat", 1890

Giovanni Boldini, "Lady with a Black Hat"

"Lady with a Black Hat"

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