J.-A.-D. Ingres
(Montauban, 1780-1867, Paris)
Madame J.-A.-D. Ingres, née Madeleine Chapelle, ca. 1814
Oil on canvas, 70 x 57 cm
Wildenstein 107
With the downfall of Napoleon in 1814 the situation of the resident French in Rome changed abruptly. The high officials of the Empire had to leave Rome, and so Ingres, who remained there until 1820, staying in Florence until 1824, lost his previous employers, one of them even being the King of Naples. More than ever he had to rely on himself and on his friends. As though having a premonition of what was coming, after breaking off two engagements, on December 4, 1813 Ingres had married Madeleine Chapelle, two years his junior, a milliner from Guéret. Her cousin was the wife of a Roman acquaintance. She was a modest woman and always deferred to her domineering husband’s wishes, proving to be an ideal wife for him until her death in 1849.
The only picture of this amiable woman is the shadowed first sketch of the Bührle Collection, which seems to presage Manet with its broad brushwork, so unusual for Ingres, and its thin glazed grey tones; only the Raphaelesque full oval of the charming countenance with its grey-blue eyes framed by the smooth parted hair, later favoured by Cézanne when painting his wife, is treated in Ingres’ characteristic manner.