With his father’s ascension to the French throne in 1830, Ferdinand-Philippe received the titles of duc d’Orléans and Prince Royal, heir apparent to the throne. Throughout the 1830s, he distinguished himself in a series of military campaigns in Flanders and Algeria, and his military career increased his public popularity and prestige.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Portrait of Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Charles-Henri of Bourbon Orleans, Duke of Orleans. Oil on canvas. 29 3/8 x 23 7/8 in. (74.5 x 60.5 cm.). Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This work is offered in the Revolution sale on 13 April at Christie’s in New York
Ferdinand-Philippe was also an enthusiastic lover of the arts and an active patron. Every year he spent up to 150,000 francs from his royal allowance on art and cultural patronage, and he filled his apartments at the Tuileries Palace with medieval and Renaissance objects, Chinese and Japanese porcelains, 18th-century French furniture and modern paintings. He was an avid collector of contemporary canvases by Delacroix, Decamps, Delaroche and Lami, as well as Barbizon landscapes by Corot, Rousseau and Paul Huet. But he was especially drawn to the art of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, who he commissioned to paint his portrait in 1841.
‘Ingres is perhaps the greatest French portraitist of the 19th century,’ says Alan Wintermute, a specialist with the Old Master Paintings department in New York. ‘Portraits by him are extremely rare.’
In the principal version of this portrait of Prince Ferdinand-Philippe, which hangs in the Louvre, the duke is presented at three-quarters length, in a civilian setting, standing in his salon at the Tuileries Palace. Despite its opulent setting and high level of finish, the portrait was completed quickly and exhibited by Ingres in his studio in the spring of 1842.
Shortly afterwards, the duke died in an accident, unleashing a wave of grief. ‘This painting was committed by his wife, probably very shortly after he was killed,’ explains Wintermute. ‘It absolutely captures the look of a certain era, this moment in mid-century France. It is a grand royal object from the very last gasp of the Bourbon monarchy.’
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