Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ingres's "Comtesse d’Haussonville" goes to California

PASADENA, CA. - The Norton Simon Museum will present a special installation of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s stunning portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville, 1845, on loan from The Frick Collection in New York. This portrait of the comtesse, a young woman known as Louise, Princess de Broglie, is the first loan from the Frick in an art exchange program between the venerable New York institution and the Norton Simon foundations. This captivating, large-scale work has never before traveled to California. Two related preparatory drawings from the Frick’s collections will accompany the work.

“The Frick Collection is one of the world’s most acclaimed art institutions and was especially admired and respected by Norton Simon,” says Walter Timoshuk, President of the Norton Simon Museum. “This exchange program not only brings some of the Frick’s marvelous works to the West Coast, but also honors Mr. Simon’s esteem for this exceptional institution.”

Located on Fifth Avenue, The Frick Collection is housed in the former mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) and is home to an internationally celebrated collection of Western fine and decorative arts, with works by Bellini, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Goya, Holbein, Ingres, Manet, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Titian, Turner, Velazquez, Vermeer, Whistler, and others. “We are delighted more to form this special exchange with the Norton Simon Museum, whose superb works very rarely leave Pasadena,” says Anne L. Poulet, Director of The Frick Collection. “And what a pleasure it will be to view the Comtesse in a new setting—the Norton Simon’s beautiful and serene galleries.”

Comtesse d’Haussonville will be on view at the Norton Simon Museum from October 30, 2009, through January 25, 2010. Two preparatory drawings by Ingres will accompany the painting—one a direct study, executed around 1843 or 1844, which shows this same pose and his process in dealing with the folds of her elegant dress; the other a preparatory detail drawing for an 1839 commission for his monumental work, The Golden Age. All three works will hang alongside the Norton Simon’s portrait of Baron Joseph-Pierre Vialetés de Mortarieu, also by Ingres. A series of lectures and educational and family programs will be organized around the installation. A related exhibition, “Gaze: Portraiture after Ingres,” runs from October 30 through April 5, 2010.

Comtesse d’Haussonville
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780–1867) left behind a rich and varied body of work created during his long life. While many of his most known paintings are historical and religious depictions, his series of portraits, many of them of well-born, beautiful women, are among his most captivating. Ingres began his portrait of Louise d’Haussonville (1818–1882) in 1842, when he was 62 and the comtesse was 24. The picture shows the lovely young woman standing before a hearth in a well appointed room, a mirror on the wall reflecting the back of her head and neck. She wears an elegant, Delft-blue silk dress, its folds and details resplendent, a few pieces of gold jewelry, and an ornate red ribbon and tortoiseshell comb in her hair. One arm rests across her waist, the other is bent upward, and her hand is tucked under her chin. The comtesse looks directly ahead, and her slight smile and open expression invite the viewer into this lovely scene.

“Her contemplative pose, with hand to chin, is a motif Ingres revisits time and time again in portraits, history paintings, and surviving sketches,” says Carol Togneri, Chief Curator at the Norton Simon Museum. “The opportunity to have this beautiful portrait, as well as two working drawings that show his interest in this important detail, allows us to consider Ingres’s relationship and homage to antique art.”


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