Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Giovanni Boldini (1845-1931)



Figure 1.--These two Chilean brothers Pedro and Luis Subercaseuse, were painted by Italian artist, Giovanni Bolldini in 1887. They wear rather severe black velvet suits with Eton collars, somewhat larger than actual English Eton collars. Note one brother has a small bow.

Italian genre and portrait painter. He was born in Ferrara and educated at the Academy of Florence. He achieved success at a young age painting portraits in London, but he moved to Paris in 1872. He was a good friend of the American painter Whistler.

Note: About the two brothers in the 1887 portrait (figure 1). They went on to lead very different lives. Pedro holding the paper became an artist and then switched to the more sober existence of a Benedictine monk. He later built a massive monastery in Santiago. Luis followed his father's footsteps, becoming a diplomat.

Background

Boldini was an Italian genre and portrait painter. He was born in Ferrara and educated at the Academy of Florence. I have no information on his childhood and what he wore as a boy.

Career

He decided to pursue his career abroad. He achieved success at a young age painting portraits in London, but he moved to Paris in 1872. He was a good friend of the American painter Whistler.

Body of Work

Some of his most famous works are Portrait of a Lady and Au Luxembourg (The Luxembourg); a portrait of Menzel (Berlin National Gallery); and Ladies of the First Empire and Des Parisiennes (New York Metropolitan). The portrait of the Subercaseuse brothers is a good example of his work. It appears to have been painted while the boys were living in Paris.

Fashions Shown

The portrait of the Subercaseuse brothers painted in 1887 shows them wearing rather severe black velvet suits with exaggerated Eton rather than Fauntleroy collars and without matching wrist trim. The collars seems larger than in England, perhaps this was a French fashion. The boys were presumably in Paris when the portrait was painted. Styles like Eton suits and sailor suits were popular in the late 19th Century. They were commonly worn with kneepants. I'm not sure if Fauntleroy suits and ringlet curls were popular in Chile. I think they were probably less popular than in Europe or America. The boys wear matching velvet suits, but none of the touches of a Fauntleroy suit. Note that one boy wears a small bow with his Eton collar. He looks to be the younger brother, perhaps that is why he wears the bow and his brother doesn't. The bow though looks quite small for the 1880s.




Christopher Wagner

histclo@lycosmail.com




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Created: June 21, 1999
Spell checked: July 30, 1999
Last updated: July 30, 1999