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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Montauban 1780 - 1867 Paris
Price range
0 – 3,000,000 USD +
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was the chief bulwark of the hallowed tradition of French Classicism versus the Romanticism of Delacroix, and his classicism was later taken up by the early Degas and admired as proto-modern by Picasso and Matisse.

Though Ingres preferred fame as a history painter, this aspect of his work is less appreciated today and thought to be too academic. His nudes, odalisques and portraits have proved more sympathetic to modern taste.

After training locally in Toulouse, his native region, Ingres entered the studio of David (1748–1825) in Paris in 1797. In 1801 he won the Prix de Rome but had to delay going to Italy because of a shortage of state funds. This mattered less since Napoleon had brought so many looted Italian pictures to Paris. In 1806 after painting an official portrait of Napoleon he left for the South. Paintings of his early Roman years show his mastery of the male and female nude notably in Oedipus and the Sphinx (musée du Louvre, Paris) and the Grande Baigneuse (musée du Louvre, Paris). Both are classical but softer and fleshier than the norm, which is maybe why they were ill-received by critics as insufficiently idealized. His Virgil reading the Aeneid to Augustus is more in the orthodox Davidian manner.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

1,930,500 $
2,426,637 $
2,661,806 $


The sales are: Christie’s New York – 31 Jan 2013 lot 85 (work on paper), Christie’s Monaco – 2 Dec 1989 lot 68 (14,430,000 FF), and Christie’s Paris – 23 Feb 2009 lot 78 (2,081,000 EUR).
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Notable exhibitions

Montreal, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 5 February – 31 May 2009; travelled to Montauban, Musée Ingres, 3 July – 4 October 2009. Curated by Dimitri Salmon.

Paris, Musée du Louvre, Ingres, 24 February – 15 May 2006. Curated by Éric Bertin, Stéphane Guégan, Vincent Pomarède and Louis-Antoine Prat.

Montauban, Musée Ingres, Ingres & l’antique: l’illusion grecque, 15 June – 15 September 2006; travelled to Arles, Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antiques, 2 October 2006 – 2 January 2007. Curated by Pascale Picard-Cajan.

London, National Gallery, Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch, 27 January – 25 April 1999; travelled to Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, 23 May – 22 August 1999; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5 October 1999 – 2 January 2000. Curated by Philip Conisbee, Gary Tinterow and Christopher Riopelle.

Paris, Musée du Petit Palais, Ingres, 27 October 1967 – 29 January 1968.



Books on Ingres

Gary Tinterow and Philip Conisbee, eds., Portraits by Ingres: Images of an Epoch, exh. cat., New York, 1999.

Georges Vigne, Ingres, Paris, 1995.

Robert Rosenblum, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, New York, 1967.

Henri Delaborde, Ingres, sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine, d’aprés les notes manuscrites et les lettres du maître, Paris, 1870.

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