Giovanni Boldini's Rita de Acosta Lydig (Frontpage) (more on Giovanni Boldini)
 Rita de Acosta Lydig 
Giovanni Boldini -- Italian-French portrait painter
Private collection
Oil on canvas
jpg: community webshots

Subject: The amazing Rita Lydig 
From: Stephanie <> 
Date: 3/13/2001 

[John Singer] Sargent has painted a beautiful socialite by the name of Rita Lydig. Have you come across, by any chance, a Sargent painting of Rita? 

Rita Lydig was born of wealthy Spanish parents in New York City in the late 1870's.  She married her first husband,W.E. Stokes, a multimillionaire whom she had a son by and was eventually divorced.  She then married Captain Lydig.  Rita's beauty was renowned and was painted several times by artists such as Boldini and John Singer Sargent.  She was also famous for her lavish spending. Yet, she had talent.  She wrote, "Tragic Mansions" and was a rival of writer, Edith Wharton, who was also her friend. 

Rita has a younger sister, Mercedes, who was a scriptwriter and social critic.  

Here's the website on Rita's younger sister Mercedes De Acosta 

I'll be doing more research on Rita Lydig.  I've checked the internet and there seemed to be very few websites on Rita Lydig. . . .   

In the 1994 book, "The Power of Style," by Annette Tapert wrote: 

Rita was equally welcomed in Paris, where she spent parts of each year.  She would arrive at the Ritz with a hairdresser, masseuse, chauffeur, secretary, maid,... and forty Vuitton trunks... In Paris, she joined ranks with musicians, artists, intellectuals, and philosophers, names like Rodin, Duse, Yvette Guillbert etc... Impressed by Rita's innate creative spirit, Isabella Stewart Gardner, the great collector and creator of the Gardner museum in Boston, once asked their mutual friend, John Singer Sargent, why Rita had never expressed herself artistically, "Why should she?" Sargent answered, "She herself is art." 

Sargent, who had painted her, was not alone in his opinion.  Other artists were enchanted by her appreciation of their work, and, more, important, they were mesmerized by her beauty... 

Rita's Spanish features attracted many artists of her era and was considered an "elegant exotic" by those who knew her.  I wished I had more information about Rita, but time has limited me to write this important bit of information to you. 



From: Scot D. Ryersson & Michael Orlando Yaccarino
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 

Boldini painted Lydig many times, creating at least one full portrait of her and one of her and her husband, Philip Lydig, walking in the woods. You said that you are interested in Sargent. According to many of our sources, Sargent painted a portrait of Lydig, but we still have never found it or seen it reproduced anywhere. We are not even sure if it was painted under her maiden name of de Acosta, her first married name of Stokes, or the name of Lydig. Do you have any recollection of any portraits by Sargent with these names as sitters?

From: Natasha 
Date: 4/5/2001 

All I know is what Stephanie sent.


Special thanks to Stephanie, a friend of the JSS Gallery, for sending me a link to this panting. 


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2003 all rights reversed
Created 6/28/2002
Updated 2/6/2003