Jean-Auguste-Dominique INGRES (Montauban 1780 - Paris 1867)
Portrait of Marie-Anne-Adélaïde Balze, Mme. Joseph Balze
Signed, dated and dedicated Ingres / à son ami / monsieur / Balze. / 1828. at the lower left.
270 x 216 mm. (10 5/8 x 8 1/2 in.)
Ingres had a remarkable ability of vividly capturing, with a few strokes of a sharpened graphite pencil applied to smooth white or cream paper, the character and personality of a sitter. As one 20th century artist has written of him, ‘Ingres’ portrait-drawings are unique in the history of art in so far as their finished nature, expressed through black and white, is a composite of light, shade and tone.’ For his drawn portraits, Ingres used specially prepared tablets made up of several sheets of paper wrapped around a cardboard centre, over which was stretched a sheet of fine white English paper. The smooth white paper on which he drew was therefore cushioned by the layers beneath, and, made taut by being stretched over the cardboard tablet, provided a resilient surface for the artist’s finely-executed pencil work.
Drawn from life, over a period of not more than a few hours, Ingres’s portrait drawings may be counted among his finest and best-known works. Around 460 portrait drawings by Ingres are known today, most of which date from before 1824, when he left Italy and returned to France. Relatively few portrait drawings can be dated to the artist’s later Parisian years, of which the present sheet is a particularly fine example.
The sitter of this portrait drawing, Marie-Anne-Adélaïde Balze, née Samat (1783-1842/3), was the wife of Joseph Balze (1781-1847), who served as grand chamberlain to King Charles IV of Spain during his exile in Rome between 1811 and 1819. It was in Rome that Joseph Balze first met Ingres, from whom he commissioned some works around 1814. A lifelong friend of the artist, Balze continued to aid Ingres after his return to Paris from Rome in 1824, finding him several significant commissions.
This charming portrait of Mme. Balze was drawn in Paris in 1828, after the Balze family had returned to France. As Hans Naef has described the present sheet, ‘If one can recognize men by their wives, the portrait of Mme. Balze reflects the most beautiful light on her husband. The feminine charm of her posture and her features are evidently due not only to a favourable appearance, but also to the grace of her disposition.’ Two years after this drawing was made, the sitter’s young sons Paul (1815-1884) and Raymond (1818-1909) entered the studio of Ingres as pupils and assistants. They grew to be very close to the artist, who treated them almost like sons, often addressing them as ‘cher enfants’, even when they were grown men.
In the same year of 1828, Ingres also made a portrait drawing of Mme. Jean-Baptiste Hinard, née Marianne-Françoise-Stanislas Balze, the sister of Joseph Balze and sister-in-law of the present sitter, which is today in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The portrait drawings of Mme. Balze and Mme. Hinard are very similar in attitude and execution and almost identical in size, and appear to have been executed as pendants. As one scholar, writing in 1911, noted of these two drawings, ‘[Ingres] made two lovely portraits in pencil for his friend, which are preserved like two treasures in the Balze family.’ Yet although Ingres produced splendid drawn portraits of the wife and sister of Joseph Balze, to whom he dedicated them, he never seems to have made one of Balze himself.
An autograph, traced version of the present sheet, drawn on papier calque, is in the collection of the Harvard University Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As Agnes Mongan has noted, ‘it was not unusual for Ingres to make a tracing of a portrait of a close friend’, and the Fogg drawing seems to have been given by Mme. Balze in 1842 to her friend Mme. de Madrazo, the mother of another of Ingres’s pupils, the painter Federico de Madrazo.
Among closely comparable drawings of the same date is a portrait said to be of a Mme. Brazier, today in the collection of the Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs in Lyon. As has been noted by the costume historian Aileen Ribeiro, in his drawn portraits of women, who were usually depicted seated, ‘Ingres’s main concern…was with fashionable French dress, and particularly the freedom and scope offered by everyday costume, the kind of clothes in which his sitters could relax.’8 Referring to the present sheet in particular, Ribeiro has added that ‘it was probably natural that Ingres preferred to depict relatively simple styles of dress which could act as a foil to the face and headwear of his portrait drawings. Two portraits dated 1828, one believed to be of Madame Brazier and the other of Madame Joseph Balze, show sitters in modest day dresses. Madame Balze’s dress is a check fabric, fitting fairly tightly to the figure…Women of the most fashionable sort arranged their hair in sausage-like curls with a large bun on top of the head, known as an Apollo knot…Indoors, around the house, women wore caps of linen or cotton trimmed with lace and ribbons…The wonderful cream-puff confections that both Madame Brazier and Madame Balze wear on top of their prominent curls, serve to give the impression of heads rather too large for their accompanying bodies; this may reflect either Ingres’s concentration on the face and its immediate surroundings, or the particular attention devoted to hairstyles and headwear in the fashion plates of the period.’
The present sheet has been included in the folloiwng exhibitions:
Paris, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Tableaux, Études peintes, dessins et croquis de J.-A.-D. Ingres, 1867, no.321
Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1889: Exposition centennale de l’art français (1789 à 1889), 1889, no.330
Paris, Grand Palais, Exposition Internationale Universelle de 1900: Exposition centennale de l’art français, 1800 à 1889, 1900, no.1093
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition Ingres, 1911, no.135
Paris, Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts, Exposition Ingres, 1921, no.101
Paris, Galerie André Weil, Exposition Ingres: Maître du dessin français, 1949, no.59
Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum, The Lehman Collection, 1959, no.274
London, The Lefevre Gallery, Important XIX and XX Century Works on Paper, 1977, no.21
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, The Presence of Ingres: Important Works by Ingres, Chassériau, Degas, Picasso, Matisse and Balthus, 1988, no.27.
Given by Ingres to the husband of the sitter, Joseph Balze, Paris
By descent to his son, Paul Balze, Paris
By inheritance to his brother, Raymond Balze, Paris
By descent to his daughter, Anne-Marie Balze, Mme. Alfred-Pierre-Emile Hennet de Goutel-Balze
By descent to her daughter, Marguerite Hennet de Goutel, Mme. Jean Lacroix de Cariès de Senilhes
Otto Wertheimer, Paris, by 1956
Acquired from him by Robert Lehman, New York
Possibly the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1969 [on loan]
P. & D. Colnaghi, London
Galerie Kornfeld, Bern
Anonymous sale, Bern, Kornfeld & Klipstein, 9-10 June 1976, lot 437
The Lefevre Gallery, London, in 1977
Jan Krugier and Marie-Anne Poniatowski, Geneva
Their sale, London, Sotheby’s, 9 July 2014, lot 144
Bernd Schultz, Berlin.
Charles Blanc, Ingres: Sa vie et ses ouvrages, Paris, 1870, p.235; Henri Delaborde, Ingres: Sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine, Paris, 1870, p.290, no.254; Georges Duplessis, Les portraits dessinés par J.-A.-D. Ingres, Paris, 1896, no.2, pl.2; Paul Leroi, ‘Vingt dessins de M. Ingres’, L’Art, Paris, 1894-1900, p.818; Henry Lapauze, Les portraits dessinés de J.-A.-D. Ingres, Paris, 1903, p.44, no.3, pl.3; Henry Lapauze, Ingres: Sa vie & son oeuvre, Paris, 1911, illustrated p.267; Louis Flandrin, ‘Deux disciples d’Ingres: Paul et Raymond Balze’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, August 1911, p.141; Amaury-Duval, ‘M. Ingres’, La Renaissance de l’art français et des industries de luxe, May 1921, illustrated p.242; Hans Naef, Die Bildniszeichnungen von J.-A.-D. Ingres, Bern, 1977-1980, Vol.II, pp.583-585, fig.2, Vol.V, pp.116-117, no.311; Lyon, Musée Historique des Tissus, Dessins du XVIe au XIXe siècle de la collection du Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Lyon, exhibition catalogue, 1984-1984, p.103, under no.120; Agnes Mongan, David to Corot: French Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge and London, 1996, p.218, under no.233; Alexander Dückers, ed., Linie, Licht und Schatten: Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, exhibition catalogue, Berlin, 1999, illustrated p.407; Philip Rylands, ed., The Timeless Eye: Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, exhibition catalogue, Venice, 1999, illustrated p.407; Aileen Ribeiro, Ingres in Fashion: Representations of Dress and Appearance in Ingres’s Images of Women, New Haven and London, 1999, pp.75-76, pl.54.