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Portrait of the Countess of Tournon

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, French, 1780 - 1867

Geography:
Made in Rome, Italy, Europe

Date:
1812

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
36 3/8 x 28 13/16 inches (92.4 x 73.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 299, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:
1986-26-22

Credit Line:
The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 1986

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Label:
Long past youth and far from beautiful, the Countess confronts the viewer with a self-assured gaze full of vivacity and wit. The mother of a high government official in French-occupied Rome, she was Ingres's only elderly female sitter and the inspiration for one of his liveliest and most accomplished early portraits.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This painting of the countess of Tournon is one of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's liveliest and most accomplished early portraits. The countess was a member of the French expatriate colony in Rome, where her son held high office during the Napoleonic occupation. Long past her youth--she was Ingres's only elderly sitter--and far from beautiful, she was nevertheless witty and wise, and, as with all his most beguiling sitters, Ingres responded with wit and sympathy of his own as he shows her confronting the viewer with a direct, assured gaze full of natural vivacity. The artist pays particular attention to the full, rounded volumes of her arms and her luxurious costume, brilliantly differentiating among the velvet, challis, cashmere, and tulle. Such splendid accouterments in no way swamp the countess's vivid personality. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 185.

Provenance

Comte de Tournon, c.1812; Marquis de Tournon; Comte Jean de Chabannes-la-Palice [and Madame la Comtesse?], by 1911 and still in 1921 [1]; sold by the family of the Comtesse Tournon to Paul Rosenberg, Paris, 1935; sold to Henry P. McIlhenny, Philadelphia, August 29, 1935 [2]; bequest to PMA, 1986. 1. Label on reverse from "Exposition Ingres," Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1911, lists the owner as "Made. la Ctesse Chabonnes La Palice." Lent by the Comte Jean de Chabannes-la-Palice to the "Exposition Ingres," Paris, Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts, May 8-June 5, 1921, no. 18. Probably Jean Victurnien Jacques de Chabannes-la-Palice (b. 1867) who married Louise Hélène Françoise de Tournon Simiane (1873-1960) in 1892 (they had four children). 2. Copy of dated receipt from Rosenberg to McIlhenny in curatorial file. A letter from Rosenberg to McIlhenny dated 12 June 1935 notes that he bought it directly from the family of the Countess Tournon (copy in curatorial file).


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