JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (Montauban 1780-1867 Paris)
JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (Montauban 1780-1867 Paris)
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Portrait study of Constance de Rayneval

Portrait study of Constance de Rayneval
signed ‘Ing’ (lower left)
graphite, stumping
14 3/4 x 9 5/8 in. (37.5 x 24.5 cm)
Delphine Ramel (1780-1867), second wife of the artist, Paris (L. 1477).
Camille Groult (1832-1908), Paris; Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 21 March, 1952, lot 3.
with Jacques Seligman and Co., New York (Master Drawings, 1961, no. 23).
H.Toussaint, Les Portraits d’Ingres. Peintures des musées nationaux, Paris, 1985, no. XIV 24, ill.
R. Rosenblum, ‘Ingres’ Portraits and their Muses’, in Portraits by Ingres. Image of an Epoch, exhib. cat., London, National Gallery, Washington, National Gallery of Art, and New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999-2000, p. p. 22, n. 14.

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Lot Essay

Resurfacing after more than fifty years, this little-known drawing – part portrait, part study for a painting – can be associated with the artist’s celebrated portrait of Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842) at the Louvre (inv. 5423), finished the year of the model’s death (fig. 1; see R. Rosenblum, C. Riopelle, and G. Tinterow in exhib. cat., 1999-2000, op. cit., pp. 7-8, fig. 8, p. 332, fig. 185, pp. 378-383, fig. 221; and S. Guegan in Ingres, 1780-1867, exhib. cat., Paris, Musée du Louvre, 2006, no. 235, ill.). A Florentine by birth but active for much of his life in France, during his lifetime Cherubini was hailed as one of the greatest living composers, especially admired for his masses and operas. In the year before the portrait was made, he received the Légion d’honneur, of which he wears the red rosette on his lapel in the portrait. He seems to have known Ingres well, and the painter’s love of music has become proverbial, although only a limited number of his works relate to music or musicians, and nearly all are portrait drawings (S. Guégan and L.-A. Prat ibidem, pp. 306-317). The portrait of Cherubini shows the elderly composer, seated near the base of a column and resting his head in his hand, looking gravely at the viewer. The austerity of the model’s mien and of the colour scheme is relieved by the presence, directly behind the musician, of a beautiful woman, dressed in white, a lyre in one hand and her other held above the composer’s head in a blessing, or protective, gesture. She represents not Euterpe, muse of music, or Erato, muse of love poetry, but Terpsichore, muse of lyric poetry (Toussaint, op. cit., p. 87, under no. XIV 7).

Ingres first worked on the painting in Paris in 1834, producing what probably was merely more than a head study in oil. In the spring of 1840, after Ingres had moved back to Rome in 1835 as director of the Académie de France at the Villa Médicis, he enlarged the sketch and started its transformation into the allegorical composition still know to us today. (A version dated 1841, made for Cherubini and depciting him alone, seated at a table but in the same pose, is in the Cincinatti Art Museum (inv. 1927.386; see G. Tinterow in exhib. cat., 1999-2000, op. cit., no. 119, ill.).) It is in the context of this transformation that a group of drawings must be considered. In addition to a number of studies for Cherubini himself and for Terpsichore’s body and the drapery of her tunic (Toussaint, op. cit., nos. XIV 1-XIV 21), three depict the muse’s face: the present sheet, signed in Ingres’ characteristic abbreviated manner but otherwise without inscriptions; one at the Louvre (fig. 2; inv. RF 4505), dated 1841 in Rome, and dedicated to the sitter, of which the head corresponds to that of Terpsichore in the painting; and a tracing of the latter at the Musée Ingres Bourdelle in Montauban (inv. MI.867.227), which Ingres enlarged by pasting it down onto another sheet and on which he drew the laurel wreath the muse wears in the final composition (for the drawings in Paris and Montauban, see Toussaint, op. cit., nos. XIV 25-XIV 26, ill.).

The model for these three sheets has been identified as Constance-Adèle de Rayneval (1815-1877). Famed for her beauty, she was the unmarried sister of Alphonse-Gérard de Rayneval, a French diplomat based in Rome, with whom she lived (for the Rayneval family and Ingres’ ties with some of its members, see H. Naef, Die Bildniszeichnungen von J.-A.-D. Ingres, III, Bern, 1979, pp. 340-347; for Constance in particular, see p. 340, n. 1). Ingres’ drawn portrait of Alphonse, made in Paris in 1844, the year he married and before he assumed a new position in Saint Petersburg, was recently on the market (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 16 March 2021, lot 43, unsold; see Naef, op. cit., III, Bern 1979, p. 340, fig. 1, V, Bern, 1980, no. 394, ill.; for a second version, see ibidem, V, no. 395). The drawings of his sister, in contrast, were probably not intended as portraits, as they differ both in their larger dimensions and their technique from the typical likenesses on which Ingres’ modern fame is largely based. From the start, they must have been made with the muse in the portrait of Cherubini in mind. The present sheet was probably the first Ingres executed, using graphite and extensive stumping. In the drawing at the Louvre, he settled on a definitive position for the muse’s head, and worked up an initial drawing in graphite with charcoal and white chalk, also with added stumping. Then followed the reworked calque in Montauban, which must have served as the direct model for the painting, of which the execution was partly entrusted to one or more assistants – the probable cause for the disfiguring cracks in the figure of the muse (Tinterow in exhib. cat., 1999-2000, op. cit., p. 380). Less closely related to the painting than the sheets in Paris an Montauban, the drawing under discussion offers at the same time homage to the sitter’s striking appearance, and is a commanding example of Ingres’ ability to focus on the essence of a sitter’s features.

Fig. 1. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Allegorical portrait of Luigi Cherubini. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Fig. 2. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Portrait study of Constance de Rayneval. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

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