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Général de La Rue (fils du modèle) ; par descendance vicomtesse de Bardonnet Hyde de Neuville (petite-nièce du modèle) ; par descendance Henry de Bourbon Solar (arrière-petit-neveu du modèle). Jacques Seligman and Company, New York, 1951.
Collection Emil Georg Bührle, Zurich, où acquis par
Galerie Alain Tarica, Paris; d'où acquis en 1984 par
Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé.
H. Delaborde, Ingres, sa vie et ses travaux, sa doctrine, d'après les notes manuscrites et les lettres du maître, Paris, 1870, no. 133.
C. Blanc, Ingres, sa vie et ses ouvrages, Paris, 1870, p. 231.
H. Lapauze, Les dessins de J.-A.-D. Ingres du Musée de Montauban, Paris, 1901, p. 240, cahier X.
H. Lapauze, Ingres - sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 1911, p. 38.
G. Wildenstein, Ingres, Aylesbury, 1954, p. 161-2, no. 13, fig. 8. J. ALazard, 'sur un portrait peu connu d'Ingres', in Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire de l'Art français, 1954, pp. 92-94 (comme dans une collection suisse).
D. Ternois, Tout l'oeuvre peint d'Ingres, Milan, 1968, p. 88, no. 11.
D. Ternois, Ingres, Milan, 1980, p. 14.
A. Ribeiro, Ingres in Fashion, New Haven, 1980, p. 243, note 5.
G. Tinterow et P. Conisbee, Portraits by Ingres Images of an epoch, cat. exp., Londres, Washington, New York, 1999-2000, pp. 32 et 135.
E. Bertin, S. Guégan, V. Pomarède, L.-A. Prat, Ingres 1780-1867, cat. exp., Paris, 2006, pp. 105 et 129.
'Les chefs-d'oeuvre de la Collection Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé', in Connaissance des Arts, no. 271, hors-série, janvier 2006, p. 22.
Connaissance des Arts, no. 634, janvier 2006, p. 49.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, French Painting : 1100-1900, 18 octobre-décembre 1951, no. 158 (comme appartenant à Jacques Seligman and Company).
Post Lot Text
Portrait of the Countess de La Rue
signed and dated 'Ingres an 12' (on the back)
oil on panel
The first female portrait, that we can identify as having been painted by Ingres, this delightful image combines the spontaneity of the youthful works and the intrinsic qualities of the artist who was to become possibly the greatest portrait painter of the 19th century. The picture belongs to 'an impressive initial collection of intimate portraits', where Ingres 'immediately achieved a remarkable mastery of all his artistic skills' (G. Vigne, Ingres, Paris, 1995, p. 44). It was painted in 1804, two years before the artist left his native France to join the French Academy in Rome. There is certainly no need to look for the influence of the great Renaissance painters or the art of Antiquity, which was so evident in the artist's later works. It has been pointed out (E. Bertin, S. Guégan, V. Pomarède, L.-A. Prat, op. cit., p. 105) that this portrait reveals the influence of Ingres's father, a miniaturist who had provided Jean-Auguste-Dominique with his initial instruction in Montauban and later Toulouse. On the contrary, it is possible to recognise the origins of several of Ingres' major characteristics in this picture which also corresponds closely to the style of the greatest and most fashionable portraitists of the moment.
The Portrait of the comtesse de La Rue distinguishes itself through its elegance reminiscent of the art of David, whose studio Ingres had left some years previously ; despite the small size of the painting, the subject has a wonderful presence, heightened by her penetrating gaze. The beauty of the chamois gloves, a true testament to his skills, may represent a response to those held by Monsieur Sériziat in a portrait painted by David in 1795, which was widely admired at the Salon (Paris, Musée du Louvre). Equally, Ingres sets his model in front of a landscape, with her face standing out against a clear sky - a practice he would abandon a few years later.
As is the case with several of his first masterpieces, including Madame Rivière, Madame Pancoucke (Paris, Musée du Louvre) and Madame Aymon known as La Belle Zélie (Rouen, Musé des Beaux-Arts), Ingres adopted on oval format, which enabled him to explore the sinuosity of the female form. The nape of the countess's neck, her neck itself and her right arm, in particular, are already distorted, in a way that will lead Ingres to be initially criticized and subsequently acclaimed for his breakthroughs in terms of 'modern art'. Therefore, as highlighted in 1840 by the writer Louis de Loménie (Galerie des Contemporains illustres, Paris, 1840, p. 13), 'at the age of twenty, he was as much himself as he was at sixty'. A year later, Ingres revived numerous details - the necklace, the veil, the pearl grey belt and the embroidery on the cashmere shawl - in his portraits of Madame and Mademoiselle Rivière (Paris, Musée du Louvre). Despite the different format, the portrait of Mademoiselle Rivière, where the sitter adopts a similar pose, is clearly reminiscent of this exquisite picture.
Born in Reims in 1770, the comtesse de La Rue belonged to the Solier de la Touche family. Her brother was the Royalist Hyde de Neuville. She married her cousin Isidore Etienne de La Rue in 1794. He was a banker and a politician who had always been loyal to the Bourbon cause, earning him the mistrust of Napoleon Bonaparte. The painting presumably stayed within the model's family until the middle of the 20th century, re-emerging at Seligman in New York in 1951.