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Portrait of a Dandy (formerly Portrait of Toulouse -Lautrec), 1880-1890

Giovanni Boldini
Italian, 1842-1931
Pastel on paper
25 x 16-1/4 in. (62.9 x 41cm) (irreg.)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

Trained in Italy and well established as a portrait painter by the time he moved to Paris in 1871, Giovanni Boldini, along with his close friend John Singer Sargent, is best known for capturing the likenesses of fin-de-siècle elite. Before developing the virtuoso brushwork that characterizes his turn-of-the-century portraits, Boldini employed a finely finished application of his medium. Notice the artist’s scrupulous attention to sartorial details here, such as the starched collar and cuffs, supple leather of maize kid gloves, and delicate pince-nez through which the sitter imperiously averts his gaze. Boldini’s enduring friendship with Edgar Degas may have encouraged his use of pastel to characterize this archetypal dandy, once thought to depict fellow painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

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