To mark the arrival of the exhibition Ingres. The Artist and His Princes, the Musée Condé
is displaying a largely unseen selection of works from its collections on the theme of travels in Italy in the 19th century. During the age of the industrial revolution in transport, the flow of artists, poets and writers crossing the Alps to visit Italy reinvented what had been known as the Grand Tour in the previous century. The emergence of travel guides and publications on history and art history democratised knowledge and educated travellers, who were interested as much by the political situation in risorgimento-era Italy as they were by its glorious past. Attracted by the coexistence of ancient, Renaissance and contemporary elements of Italian culture everywhere from the countryside to the heart of the cities, artists saw history gradually unfold all around them and endeavoured to capture this sedimentation of time in picturesque landscapes and genre paintings imbued with Italian flair, as well as in academic renderings imitating ancient art. From the remote past to the most burning contemporary issues, travel in 19th-century Italy was an invitation to face history, as Stendhal put it in his Promenades dans Rome in 1829.
An exceptional loan from the Frick Collection, to be discovered in the exhibition Ingres: The artist and his princes at the Château de Chantilly, Salle du Jeu de Paume until 1st october 2023. Ingres became the portrait artist of choice of the French elite during the July monarchy, owing to his popularity with the Orléans family.
One of his subjects was a charming countess, Louise de Broglie, the wife of the future Count of Haussonville. Louise was the daughter, sister, wife and mother of members of academies of the Institut de France Ingres was himself a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and, like the rest of her family, she was a fervent supporter of the Orléanist monarchy. She had first met Ingres in Rome in 1840, where she had admired the version of Stratonice that he was painting.
Captivated by her beauty, but also anxious to make a good impression with her family, Ingres simply could not pass up the opportunity to paint her portrait following his return to Paris. One of his most famous portraits, the piece took almost three years (1842-1845) to complete. Seldom loaned, it has been temporarily borrowed from the Frick Collection in New York to give French audiences the opportunity to admire it at first hand.
A successful artist in the first half of the 19th century, Jean-Auguste- Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) was an unclassifiable and frequently visionary painter. Behind his apparent classicism lay an originality and search for perfection that continue to fascinate to this day.
Where did this success come from? Following the advent of the July Monarchy (1830-1848), Ingres received considerable backing from the Orléans family, which would result in some of his greatest masterpieces. Those close ties will form the central thread of this major exhibition in Chantilly, which will explore how the prince of artists became the artist of princes.
Held in collections in France and beyond, paintings and drawings commissioned or collected by the princes of Orléans will be brought to Chantilly and presented alongside studies and variants. Together, they will offer an insight into the perfectionist and methodical work of one of Frances greatest ever painters.
New analyses of some of the artists most important masterpieces, as well as unpublished and rediscovered works, will shed new light on the unique personality of one of the greatest figures in the history of art.
THE ARTIST AND HIS PRINCES
The story begins with the special relationship that Ingres enjoyed with the heir to the throne. One of his greatestpatronswasDuke Ferdinand of Orléans (1810-1842), Prince Royal of France and eldest son of King Louis-Philippe, who in 1839 acquired a work Ingres had sent back to Paris from Rome, dipe et le Sphinx (1808, Musée du Louvre, Paris), and then commissioned him to paint the famous Stratonice (1835-1840, Musée Condé, Chantilly) and his own portrait (1842, Musée du Louvre, Paris). The three masterpieces each indelibly linked to this most famous of Ingres admirers will be exhibited together here for the first time.
Following the accidental death of their son the Prince Royal on 13 July 1842, at just 32 years of age, King Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie- Amélie chose to ask Ingres to create the cartoons for the stained glass windows at the Saint-Ferdinand chapel, which was constructed less than a year on from the tragedy on the very spot where the duke had died, near Porte Maillot in Paris. For the windows, Ingres produced full- length portraits of the royal familys patron saints including Saint Philip, Saint Louis, Saint Amélie and Saint Ferdinand bearing visual traits characteristic of the Orléans family. The following year (1844), the bereaving royals commissioned the artist to reproduce his work for the Orléans family tomb at the Royal Chapel in Dreux, having, in 1842, asked to him to create a large religious painting for the chapel at the Château de Bizy.
The Prince Royals younger brother, the Duke of Montpensier, also had a close affinity with Ingres, commissioning a work from him in 1847 (Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts, Brussels) which is presented in an entirely new light here.
CHANTILLY: THE ARTISTS SANCTUARY
In October 1847, Henri dOrléans, the Duke of Aumale (1822-1897), commissioned Ingres to create another set of stained glass windows, this time for the chapel at the Château de Chantilly. At the time the château, which had been bequeathed to the Duke by his great-uncle, the last Prince of Condé, was in need of restoration following the destruction wrought by the Revolution.
In part, it was Ingres special relationship with the Duke of Orléans that lay behind the acquisitions of his work by the Duke of Aumale, one of the greatest French art collectors of the 19th century and the man who would ultimately donate the Château de Chantilly to the Institut de France. The Duke of Aumale purchased no fewer than five major paintings and a large drawing by the artist, all now housed at the Musée Condé in Chantilly, in memory of his elder brother following the latters tragic death. Visitors will be able to see a completely new side to these masterpieces, as they will be exhibited for the first time alongside preparatory drawings and variants that offer unique, behind-the-scenes insight into the masters working method.
The exhibition also reveals that, following Ingres death, the Duke of Aumale wanted to acquire Homère déifié (1865, Musée du Louvre, Paris), one of the masters most important works and, in some respects, his artistic legacy a project that was ultimately abandoned due to political events.
A QUEST FOR PERFECTION
A true perfectionist with an acute sensitivity to criticism, Ingres cut the figure of an eternally dissatisfied artist on an ongoing quest for ideal beauty, constantly returning to his compositions, modifying and enhancing them, sometimes after several decades.
Recent scientific analysis (including X-ray, ultraviolet and infrared imaging) conducted at the Louvre by the Centre de Recherches et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF) reveals how Ingres reworked and altered his greatest masterpieces, such as LAutoportrait dit à vingt-quatre ans (Musée Condé, Chantilly), which he started in 1804 and completed around 1850, or the great Vénus Anadyomène (Musée Condé, Chantilly), begun in 1808 in Rome and completed in 1848. Another perfect example is that of the Duke of Orléans commissioned Antiochus et Stratonice (Musée Condé, Chantilly): initially inspired by his master David (1774, École nationale supérieure des Beaux- Arts, Paris), Ingres became caught up in the pursuit of the ideal composition, painting up to seven different versions. Each work was the result of detailed research; Ingres was a talented sketcher who made numerous drawings of the overall picture and its individual components, and the exhibition presents the sketches and preparatory studies that lay behind each of his most prominent works.
The exhibition is ordered chronologically, comprising over 110 works offering a panoramic overview of the artists career: from his early years in Paris, through his two stays in Italy, up until his later works. Thanks to the exceptional support of the Musée Ingres Bourdelle in Montauban, nearly 40 of the masters preparatory works have been assembled in order to trace the genesis of the exhibitions main paintings. Additionally, the Frick Collection has loaned the celebrated Portrait de Louise, princesse de Broglie, future comtesse dHaussonville, a depiction of one of the most prominent figures in the Orléanist movement, which leaves the New York museum for the first time.
A number of other major museums, in France and from overseas, have participated in the project by offering loans. In France, they include the Musée du Louvre, the Musée dOrsay, the Château de Versailles, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, the Institut de France, the Musée Ingres Bourdelle in Montauban and the Musée Fabre in Montpellier. Participants from further afield include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection and the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls (United States); the Barber Institute in Birmingham (United Kingdom); the Kunstmuseum in Bern and the Napoleonmuseum in Arenenberg (Switzerland); the Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts (Belgium); the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Museum of Amsterdam (Netherlands), in addition to various private collections. The scientific catalogue accompanying the exhibition, which features contributions from major specialists in the field, is aimed at further developing our knowledge of the artist. The project presents an opportunity to discover relatively lesser-known but still hugely significant works, some of which are being shown in France for the very first time.