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The Path of Nature: Collecting Off the Beaten Path

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Jacques-Louis Leblanc (1774–1846)

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris)

Date:
1823
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
47 5/8 x 37 5/8 in. (121 x 95.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1918
Accession Number:
19.77.1
  • Gallery Label

    This portrait of Leblanc and that of his wife (19.77.2) were painted in 1823, shortly after Ingres met the couple in Florence. Madame Leblanc had been lady-in-waiting to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Napoleon’s sister Élisa Bacchiochi; Monsieur Leblanc was her secretary. Ingres described him as "a Frenchman, very rich and also quite generous and good, who has adopted us, to the point of overwhelming us with kindnesses and also with requests for paintings portraits, etc." Edgar Degas, who first saw these portraits in 1854, described his acquisition of them in 1896 as "the event of my life as a collector." The Metropolitan bought them from Degas’s estate sale in 1918.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (right, on paper): Ingres / Pinx.

  • Provenance

    M. and Mme Jacques-Louis Leblanc, Florence, later Paris (1823–her d. 1839); Jacques-Louis Leblanc, Paris, later Tours (1839–d. 1846); their son, ?Félix-Jerôme-François-Jacques Leblanc, Paris (1846–d. 1886); his sister, Mme Jean-Henri Place, née Isaure Juliette-Joséphine Leblanc, Paris (1846–d. 1895; her posthumous sale [no published catalogue], Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 23, 1896, no. 48 as "un portrait d'homme par Ingres," for Fr 3,500 to Durand-Ruel for Degas; Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Paris (1896–d. 1917, his estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, March 26–27, 1918, no. 54, to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Great Portraits by Famous Painters," November 13–December 21, 1952, no. 35 (as "Portrait of Monsieur Le Blanc").

    Paris. Petit Palais. "Ingres," October 27, 1967–January 29, 1968, no. 127.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ingres at the Metropolitan," December 13, 1988–March 19, 1989, no catalogue (as "Jacques Louis Leblanc").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Private Collection of Edgar Degas," October 1, 1997–January 11, 1998, no. 619.

    London. National Gallery. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," January 27–April 25, 1999, no. 89.

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," May 23–August 22, 1999, no. 89.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," October 5, 1999–Janaury 2, 2000, no. 89.

    Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Ingres: 1780–1867," February 24–May 15, 2006, no. 55.

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 3.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    Théophile Silvestre. Histoire des artistes vivants: Français et étrangers. Paris, 1856, p. 36, lists "Portrait de M. Leblanc" as one of the paintings that Ingres made during his stay in Florence from 1820 to 1824.

    Olivier Merson. Ingres: Sa vie et ses oeuvres. Paris, 1867, p. 109, dates it 1821.

    Charles Blanc. Ingres sa vie et ses ouvrages. Paris, 1870, pp. 82–83, 232, notes that the Leblanc portraits and three other paintings occupied much of Ingres's time in 1823.

    Henri Delaborde. Ingres: Sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine. Paris, 1870, p. 253, no. 134, dates it 1822 or 1823.

    P. Durrieu. Letter to M. le Directeur. June 25, 1886 [published in Ref. Naef 1966], discusses Mme Place's offer of the Leblanc portraits to the Louvre, which was rejected.

    Edgar Degas. Ingres, Portraits de Mr et Mme Leblanc. n.d. [translated and published in Ref. Reff 1976], lists how much he spent for this portrait; recalls seeing the portraits of M. and Mme Leblanc in 1854 in the home of their son, on the rue de la vieille Estrapade, and again in 1855 at the World's Fair; notes that Mme Place obtained the portraits from her brother; mentions that the background of this portrait was repainted in order to make it identical to that of his wife; speculates that when it was repainted ten years earlier, the background was removed in the presence of Degas and the original red ground was uncovered intact.

    "Nouvelles." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts 5 (February 1, 1896), p. 38, notes that it was sold the previous week at the Hôtel Drouot sale, and that it was bought by Edgar Degas for Fr 3,500; comments that the price was too low for an Ingres, probably a result of the Louvre not being interested in it.

    Arsène Alexandre. Jean-Dominique Ingres: Master of Pure Draughtsmanship. London, 1905, pp. 15–16, tells of seeing this portrait in Degas's studio and of his great admiration for it.

    J. Momméja. Ingres. Paris, [1907], p. 71, dates it 1823–24; notes that the paintings of M. and Mme Leblanc were the only two portraits Ingres made during his stay in Florence, 1820–24.

    Jean Auguste Boye Boyer D'Agen. Ingres d'après une correspondence inédite. 1909, p. 60, quotes a letter that Ingres wrote in January 1821 to Jean-François Gilibert in which he mentions this painting; mistakenly thinks that Ingres was referring to M. Pastoret, not M. Leblanc.

    A. J. Finberg. Ingres. London, [?1910], p. 45, dates it 1823–24.

    Henry Lapauze. Ingres: Sa vie & son oeuvre (1780–1867), d'après des documents inédits. Paris, 1911, pp. 212–14, dates it 1823 and notes that Ingres made only two studies for this painting.

    "Nos Échos: . . . La Collection Degas." Le Cousin Pons 2 (October 15, 1917), p. 269, lists the Leblanc portraits among those most admired by Degas's friends.

    Arsène Alexandre. "Essai sur Monsieur Degas." Les Arts 14, no. 166 (1918), pp. 12, 21.

    "Degas Sale in Paris." American Art News 16 (April 27, 1918), p. 1.

    Raymond Bouyer. "Mouvement des arts: La Collection Edgar Degas." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts ([March] 1918), p. 86.

    B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "Two Ingres Portraits." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 13 (May 1918), p. 119, states that the portraits of M. and Mme Leblanc will be stored in France until after the war.

    Armand Dayot. "L'Atelier de Degas." L'Illustration 76 (March 16, 1918), pp. 256–59 [Engl. translation published in Ref. Rabinow 1997, p. 309].

    L[ouis]. Dimier. "Les Arts pendant la guerre: La collection Degas." L'Action française (April 2, 1918), p. 4, criticizes Degas's collection of Ingres, calling the Leblanc portraits the worst of all.

    M. A. Frappart. "Les Principales ventes de 1918." Annuaire des ventes. 1, October 1918–July 1919, p. 19 [Engl. translation published in Ref. Rabinow 1997, p. 334].

    Paul Lafond. Degas. 1, Paris, 1918, pp. 117–21.

    Henry Lapauze. "Ingres chez Degas. La famille de Lucien Bonaparte." La Renaissance no. 1 (March 1918), pp. 10–11, ill., notes that this portrait remained in the Leblanc family until it was bought by Degas in an obscure sale at the Hôtel Drouot.

    "La Vente Degas." New York Herald [Paris] (March 27, 1918), p. 3 [Engl. translation published in Ref. Rabinow 1997, p. 317].

    "La Vente Degas." New York Herald [Paris] (March 26, 1918), p. 3 [Engl. translation published in Ref. Rabinow 1997, pp. 315–16], notes that the paint is a bit cracked, but that it is still one of the best portraits by Ingres in the collection of Degas.

    "Art Sale in Paris Best of War Time: Edgard [sic] Degas' Collection Brings $320,000 Despite Raids and Bombardment." New York Herald, section 2, (March 28, 1918), p. 7 [reprinted in Ref. Rabinow 1997, p. 318].

    "Art et curiosité: La collection Degas." Le Temps (March 29, 1918), p. 3.

    "Sale of Degas Collection." Times (London) (March 27, 1918), p. 5.

    "Portraits by Ingres." American Magazine of Art 11, no. 1 (November 1919), pp. 15, 17, ill.

    Bryson Burroughs. "Portraits of M. and Mme Leblanc by Ingres." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14 (June 1919), pp. 133–35, ill., remarks that the paintings are in their original frames and that the black of M. Leblanc's coat has cracked, probably due to a siccative that Ingres mixed with this slow-drying color.

    Louis Hourticq. Ingres: L'oeuvre du maître. Paris, 1928, pp. v, 57, dates it 1822.

    Morton D. Zabel. "Ingres in America." The Arts 16, no. 6 (February 1930), pp. 372, 374–75, 377, ill.

    Paul Poujaud. Letter to Marcel Guérin. July 11, 1936 [English translation published in Marcel Guérin, ed., "Degas Letters," Oxford, 1947, p. 236], describes seeing this picture shortly after it was purchased by Degas.

    Walter Pach. Ingres. New York, 1939, p. 52.

    P[aul]. A[ndré]. Lemoisne. Degas et son œuvre. [reprint 1984]. Paris, [1946–49], p. 175, ill. opp. p. 176.

    Jean Alazard. Ingres et l'Ingrisme. Paris, 1950, pp. 66, 148 n. 31, pl. XLVIII.

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 6.

    Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 1st ed. 1954, p. 194, no. 153, pl. 59.

    Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 2nd revised ed. London, 1956, p. 194, no. 153, pl. 59.

    Daniel Halévy. My Friend Degas. Middletown, Conn., 1964, pp. 85–86, remarks, in a journal entry of January 21, 1896, that Degas had bought it and was very excited about his purchase.

    Hans Naef. "Ingres und die Familie Leblanc." du-atlantis 26 (February 1966), pp. 121–34, colorpl. 5, publishes Ingres's drawings of the Leblanc family and quotes his letters concerning them and the paintings he made for them; gives information on the history of the portraits of M. and Mme Leblanc, as well as on the Leblanc family.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 9–10, ill.

    Michel Laclotte. "L'année Ingres." Revue du Louvre et des musées de France nos. 4–5 (1967), p. 194.

    Robert Rosenblum. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. New York, 1967, pp. 124–25, colorpl. 32.

    Daniel Ternois in Ingres. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1967, pp. 184–85, no. 127, ill.

    Emilio Radius Ettore Camesasca in L'opera completa di Ingres. Milan, 1968, pp. 100–101, no. 110, ill.

    Hans Naef. "Ingres to M. Leblanc: An Unpublished Letter." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (December 1970), pp. 178–84, fig. 2, translates a letter from Ingres to M. Leblanc thanking him for his great friendship and patronage; publishes a small note that secures the date of Isaure Place's auction as January 23, 1896.

    Hans Naef. "Degas acheteur des portraits de M. et Mme Leblanc." Bulletin du Musée Ingres no. 39 (July 1976), pp. 11–14, ill., provides details on the Place sale of 1896.

    Theodore Reff. Degas, The Artist's Mind. [New York], 1976, pp. 54, 88–89, 309 n. 53, p. 312 nn. 140, 144, 145, questions whether the background of this portrait was repainted in 1886 when Mme Place offered it to the Louvre; notes that the background is not red, as Degas writes, but rather warm brown with touches of red.

    Hans Naef. Die Bildniszeichnungen von J.-A.-D. Ingres. 2, Bern, 1978, pp. 438–48, fig. 2, discusses Ingres's relationship with the Leblanc family; reprints a number of letters that relate to the Leblancs as patrons and friends.

    Daniel Ternois. Ingres. Milan, 1980, pp. 65, 94–95, 179–80, no. 164, ill. (color and black and white).

    Jean Sutherland Boggs in Degas. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1988, p. 491, fig. 279, translates and publishes a letter from Bartholomé to Paul Lafond, where Degas's purchase of the portraits of M. and Mme Leblanc is noted.

    Steven Henry Madoff. "Face to Face." Art News 88, no. 2 (February 1989), pp. 106–7, ill.

    Georges Vigne. Ingres. New York, 1995, pp. 157–60, 266, 328, 333, no. 106, colorpl. 132, publishes Ingres's Cahier X where it is listed under "Florence, 1820" as "id. [portrait a mi corps] de Mr Leblanc avec mains".

    Paul Mitchell and Lynn Roberts. Frameworks: Form, Function & Ornament in European Portrait Frames. London, 1996, p. 424 n. 25.

    Colin B. Bailey in Colin B. Bailey. Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New Haven, 1997, p. 106.

    Ann Dumas in The Private Collection of Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997, pp. 3, 5–6, 12, 19–20, 26, fig. 22 (color), remarks that Degas considered this portrait and its pendant to be the high points of his collection.

    Rebecca A. Rabinow in The Private Collection of Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997, pp. 302, 309, 312, 317–22, 325, 333.

    Theodore Reff in The Private Collection of Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997, p. 147.

    Susan Alyson Stein in The Private Collection of Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997, pp. 271, 279–81, 287–88.

    Gary Tinterow in The Private Collection of Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997, p. 76.

    Rebecca A. Rabinow. "Catharine Lorillard Wolfe: The First Woman Benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum." Apollo 147 (March 1998), p. 54, lists it among the works that were purchased with the Wolfe Fund.

    Valérie Bajou. Monsieur Ingres. Paris, 1999, pp. 184, 186–87, 359 n. 22, colorpl. 134, remarks that Toussaint believes that this pose is derived from Bronzino's "Bartolomeo Panciatichi" (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence).

    Nicholas Penny. Notes on Frames in the Exhibition "Portraits by Ingres". February 1999 [published on the National Portrait Gallery, London website: http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/the-art-of-the-picture-frame/artist-ingres.php], suggests that the Leblanc portraits were reframed in Paris in the 1830s, possibly as proposed by Ingres.

    Christopher Riopelle in Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1999, pp. 244, 256–57, 259–61, 466, 548, no. 89, ill. (color).

    Peter Humfrey. Giovanni Battista Moroni: Renaissance Portraitist. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum. Fort Worth, 2000, pp. 24–25, ill.

    Gary Tinterow. "'Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch': Reflections, Technical Observations, Addenda, and Corrigenda." Metropolitan Museum Journal 35 (2000), p. 195.

    Vincent Pomarède in Ingres: 1780–1867. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2006, pp. 159, 195, 200–201, 381, no. 55, ill. p. 199 (color).

    Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 20–21, 220, no. 3, ill. (color and black and white).

    Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 10–11, 262, no. 9, ill. (color and black and white).

    Richard Dagorne. "Le 'Portrait de Madame Reiset:' un important portrait féminin par Girodet." Revue du Louvre et des musées de France 60 (February 2010), p. 12.



  • Notes

    Jacques-Louis Leblanc (1774–1846) was born in Versailles. At the time of his marriage to Madame Leblanc in 1811 he held a cabinet post in Florence as secretary to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany. While Ingres was in Florence, between 1820 and 1824, Leblanc was a generous and sympathetic patron.

    Studies for this portrait are preserved in the Musée Ingres, Montauban [see Vigne, "Dessins d'Ingres: Catalogue raisonné des dessins du musée de Montauban," 1995, nos. 2694–96].

    Étienne Achille Réveil engraved this portrait for his "Oeuvres de J. A. Ingres . . . gravées au trait sur acier," Paris, 1851, pl. 43.

    This portrait is the companion to MMA 19.77.2.

  • See also
436706

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