images courtesy of artrenewal.org.
Giovanni Boldini (1842 – 1931) Was an Italian painter who established himself as a successful portrait painter in Paris in the later 19th century.His portraits were stylish and he did many commissions for the high society of Europe. If I had to add a fourth name to the aforementioned triumvirate (thus making it a quadumvirate) it would be Boldini.
The painting above is in the Clark Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts. I stood before it in awe this summer. I had seen it before but it still amazed me. It has a delicate, refined suavity that
I got this question in the comments yesterday.
When you say they are more like vision..so you mean the only thing in focus is what one is looking directly at and every thing else is out of focus and/or fuzzy? So only one part of the painting is in focus(with more hard edges, etc) and the rest is generally out of focus/soft or handled broadly with little detail?
I would say that was a symptom, rather than the thing itself. I think "seeing" in the artistic sense is the building of a painting or drawing based more closely on observation of the perceived than was common before this generation. It is a kind of visual draftsmanship less tethered to the formal approaches popular with previous academicians. These artists brought to the process not only the ability to express form and construction but the ability to see the thing flat, as abstract shapes devoid of meaning before their eyes. The successful marrying of these two systems is what made this group of painters so original.
,There is often a general tendency in this kind of work to blur the parts of a painting further from the point of greatest interest, but need not necessarily be. It is a result of the process employed, but not the seminal one.I think the greatest characteristic is the observation of edges, a besottment with the edge.
When I was studying with Ives Gammell, who had studied Sargent working methods and thoughts about painting extensively, he would say, "get the BIG look of nature!". What he meant by this is that the picture is perceived as a whole. Every part of it is seen in relationship to the whole. The hands in a portrait are painted the way they look when seeing the entirety of the pictures rather than the way they look when studied independently. Everything before you has this dual appearance. There is the way it looks when you look directly at it and the way it looks in the largeness of encompassing vision.