Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, “Comtesse d’Haussonville”


– [Voiceover] This work resulted
from a somewhat begrudging encounter on the artist’s part
between the greatest portrait painter in France, in his 60s,
and a young princess in her 20s, by then, the mother of three. Louise, Princess du Broglie, granddaughter of the formidable
author, Madame de Staël, had married the young
Vicomte d’Haussonville at the age of 18. In her remarkably frank memoirs, Louise said of herself at this time, “I was destined to beguile,
to attract, to seduce, and in the final reckoning, to
cause suffering in all those who sought their happiness in me.” If this was the case with her husband, it did not affect his love for her. Following Louise’s death, he instantly moved out of
their Parisian residence, and ordered a copy made of this portrait, which Louise had
bequeathed to her daughter. For her time and elevated social position, Louise was outspokenly
independent and liberal. She published a number of books, including biographies of Byron and the Irish revolutionary Robert Emmet. Ingres labored on this
canvas for three years, with several false starts and a great many preparatory drawings. In the end, the artist
noted that the finished work had aroused a storm of approval. One close friend of the family told him, “You must have been in love
to depict her in this way.” And indeed, there is something
provocatively intimate in this scene, as though
Ingres had cornered his prey in the corner of her boudoir, nonchalantly leaning on
an upholstered fireplace.

4 comments

  1. The portrait was reproduced by one of the brothers Balze, either Paul-Etienne or his younger brother Raymond, and is now at Mme de Staël's château, Coppet, Switzerland. I would like to know which of the two brothers did the copy, as both were among Ingres pupils. Thank you for any information.

  2. A great way to admire the greatest paintings free.Thank you, Google and thank you to your collection !!!

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