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Under the Roman Sun: Landscape, Brigands, and the Late Grand Tour


Madame Jacques-Louis Leblanc (Françoise Poncelle, 1788–1839)

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

Oil on canvas
47 x 36 1/2 in. (119.4 x 92.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1918
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    For this portrait there are more than two dozen drawings investigating a variety of poses (Musée Ingres, Montauban). Similar studies do not exist for the likeness of Madame Leblanc’s husband (19.77.1). The two paintings—the only pair of portraits Ingres produced—were probably intended to hang facing one another, since the light falls differently in each, but they are unified by the visual harmony of hands, gold chains, and rich textiles that enhance the couple’s black clothing. This work, however, was exhibited without its pendant at the Salon of 1834.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower left): Ingres P. flor. 1823.

  • 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-Jérôme-François-Jacques Leblanc, Paris (1846–d. 1886); his sister, Mme Jean-Henri Place, née Isaure Juliette-Josephine Leblanc, Paris (1886–d. 1895; her posthumous sale [no published catalogue], Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 23, 1896, no. 47 as "Un portrait de femme par Ingres," for Fr 7,500 to Durand-Ruel for Degas); Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1896–d. 1917; his estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, March 26–27, 1918, no. 55, to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Salon. March 1–?, 1834, no. 999 (as "Portrait de femme").

    Paris. Palais des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition universelle de 1855," May 15–?, 1855, no. 3368 (as "Portrait de Mme L. B. . . ," possibly this picture).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 140 (as "Madame Leblanc").

    Paris. Petit Palais. "Ingres," October 27, 1967–January 29, 1968, no. 128 (as "Madame Leblanc").

    Paris. Grand Palais. "De David à Delacroix: La peinture française de 1774 à 1830," November 16, 1974–February 3, 1975, no. 110 (as "'Portrait de femme': Madame Leblanc").

    Detroit Institute of Arts. "French Painting 1774–1830: The Age of Revolution," March 5–May 4, 1975, no. 110 (as "Portrait of Madame Leblanc").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "French Painting 1774–1830: The Age of Revolution," June 12–September 7, 1975, no. 110 (as "Portrait of Madame Leblanc").

    Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "From Delacroix to Matisse," March 15–May 10, 1988, no. 2.

    Moscow. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. "From Delacroix to Matisse," June 10–July 30, 1988, no. 2.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ingres at the Metropolitan," December 13, 1988–March 19, 1989, no catalogue (as "Madame Jacques Louis Leblanc (Françoise Poncelle, 1788–1839)").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Private Collection of Edgar Degas," October 1, 1997–January 11, 1998, no. 620.

    London. National Gallery. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," January 27–April 25, 1999, no. 88 (as "Madame Jacques-Louis Leblanc, née Françoise Poncelle").

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," May 23–August 22, 1999, no. 88.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," October 5, 1999–Janaury 2, 2000, no. 88.

    Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Ingres: 1780–1867," February 24–May 15, 2006, no. 56 (as "Françoise Leblanc, née Poncelle").

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 2.

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

  • References

    Gabriel Laviron. Le Salon de 1834. Paris, 1834, p. 316 [see Ref. Lapauze 1911], harshly criticizes its color; remarks that the red tones in her face are too extravagant, making her look as if she had a bloody nose, and, even stranger, that she does not appear to have blood flowing through her veins.

    Louis Peisse. "Beaux-Arts Salon de 1834." Le National (May 3, 1834), p. 316 [see Ref. Lapauze 1911], praises this painting, noting the beauty of the arms, hands, and the color; comments specifically on the execution of the transparent black gauze of the sleeves, the shawl, and other accessories; concludes that this work is the most remarkable work of the Salon.

    [Hilaire Léon Sazerac]. Lettres sur le Salon de 1834. Paris, 1834, pp. 19–21, criticizes this painting's color and execution but remarks that the eyes and mouth are finely drawn.

    A.-D. Vergnaud. Examen du Salon de 1834. Paris, 1834, p. 316 [see Ref. Lapauze 1911], maliciously writes that Mme Leblanc looks like a monster who lacks the upper part of her head, has bulging eyes and sausage-like fingers, concluding that the painting has the distorted perspective of a doll seen too close and reflected on the canvas by several curved mirrors, without a sense of the whole.

    Maxime du Camp. Les Beaux-Arts à l'Exposition Universelle de 1855. Paris, 1855 [see Ref. Riopelle 1999], describes the picture, referring to it as "Mme L. B.," the title it bore in the exhibition catalogue.

    "Explication des ouvrages de peintures, sculpture, gravure, lithographie et architecture des artistes vivants étrangers et français." Exposition Universelle de 1855. Exh. cat., Palais des Beaux-Arts. Paris, 1855, p. 353, no. 3368, dates it 1823.

    Charles Perrier. "Exposition Universelle des Beaux-Arts: II, La peinture française—M. Ingres." L'Artiste, 5th ser., 15 (May 27, 1855), p. 45, as "madame L. B."; praises the beauty and delicacy of this painting and the sitter.

    Théophile Silvestre. Histoire des artistes vivants: Français et étrangers. Paris, 1856, pp. 36, 39, lists the "Portrait de Mme Leblanc" as one of the paintings that Ingres made during his stay in Florence from 1820 to 1824.

    Théodore Duret. Les peintres français en 1867. Paris, 1867 [see Ref. Riopelle 1999], praises it for its psychological acuity.

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

    Charles Blanc. Ingres sa vie et ses ouvrages. Paris, 1870, pp. 33, 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, pp. 40, 253–54, no. 135.

    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.

    "Nouvelles." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts 5 (February 1, 1896), p. 38, notes that the portrait of Mme Leblanc was sold the previous week at the Hôtel Drouot sale, and that it was bought by Edgar Degas for Fr 7,500;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 the pair 1823–24 and notes that they were the only portraits Ingres made during his stay in Florence, 1820–24.

    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, 316, quotes the reactions to its first exhibition the Salon of 1834.

    "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.

    "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.

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

    "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. 15–16, ill.

    Bryson Burroughs. "Portraits of M. and Mme Leblanc by Ingres." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14 (June 1919), pp. 133–34, ill., notes that Ingres made twenty studies for this painting, now in the Musée Ingres, Montauban; remarks that the painting is in its original frame, and that the blacks have cracked in Mme Leblanc's dress, probably due to a siccative that the artist mixed with this slow-drying color.

    Morton D. Zabel. "Ingres in America." The Arts 16, no. 6 (February 1930), pp. 372, 374–76, ill.

    Walter Pach. Ingres. New York, 1939, pp. 51–52, 100, 266, ill. opp. p. 115.

    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. L.

    Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 232, colorpl. 140, mentions its graceful line, simplicity of structure, and modeling.

    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. 193, no. 152, pls. 58, 60, 61.

    Norman Schlenoff. Ingres: Ses sources littéraires. Paris, 1956, p. 140, dates it 1824.

    Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 2nd revised ed. London, 1956, pp. 24, 193, no. 152, pls. 58, 60, 61 (overall and details).

    John Canaday. "Four Women." Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin 52, no. 253 (1957), pp. 43–44, 46, 48–49, ill., suggests that this portrait is easily understood by the viewer because it offers the qualities most viewers look for in a female portrait: grace, impeccable technique, and a personable sitter; concludes that study of this painting could reveal complications and nuances, but that it can be accepted essentially at its most apparent values.

    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. 4, publishes Ingres's drawings of the Leblanc family and quotes from his letters.

    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. 10–11, ill., remarks on the influence of the Italian Mannerists.

    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. 122–23, colorpl. 31, mentions that this portrait conveys the new mood of bourgeois respectability that began to appear in Ingres's female portraits in the 1820s; notes that her pose recalls David's "Mme Verninac" of 1799 (Louvre, Paris).

    Daniel Ternois in Ingres. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1967, pp. 186–87, no. 128, ill.

    Emilio Radius Ettore Camesasca in L'opera completa di Ingres. Milan, 1968, p. 101, no. 109, ill., and colorpl. 32.

    Hans Naef. "Ingres to M. Leblanc: An Unpublished Letter." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (December 1970), pp. 178–84, fig. 3, reproduces and 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.

    Kenneth Clark. "Ingres: Peintre de la vie moderne." Apollo, n.s., 93, no. 111 (May 1971), p. 358, no. 5, ill., remarks that it is more severe in style than Ingres's earlier portraits.

    Jacques Foucart. French Painting, 1774–1830: The Age of Revolution. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. New York, 1975, pp. 272, 512–14, no. 110, ill., discusses the idea put forth by Rosenblum [see Ref. Rosenblum 1967] that the pose of the sitter is derived from David's "Mme de Verniac" of 1799 (Louvre, Paris), noting the difference in treatment of space between Ingres and David.

    Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève de l'imaginaire. La Peinture française au XIXe siècle: Réalisme, romantisme. Paris, 1976, p. 463, comments that one can see the influence of Mannerist painters such as Bronzino in the works of Ingres, particularly in this painting.

    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. 139–40, 144–45.

    Hans Naef. Die Bildniszeichnungen von J.-A.-D. Ingres. 2, Bern, 1978, pp. 438–48, fig. 1, discusses Ingres's relationship with the Leblanc family; reprints letters that relate to the Leblancs as patrons and friends.

    Gaëtan Picon. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1967]. New York, 1980, pp. 98, 143 [1st edition has different page numbers], detects a faint smile and a glint of irony in the eyes of Mme Leblanc.

    Daniel Ternois. Ingres. Milan, 1980, pp. 65, 94, 179, no. 163, 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. 280, translates and publishes a letter from Bartholomé to Paul Lafond, which mentions Degas's purchase of the portraits.

    Steven Henry Madoff. "Face to Face." Art News 88, no. 2 (February 1989), pp. 105–7, ill. (color).

    Georges Vigne. Ingres. New York, 1995, pp. 157, 159–60 197, 328, 333, no. 107, colorpl. 133, publishes Ingres's Cahier X where it is listed under "Florence, 1820" as "id. [portrait a mi corps] Me Leblanc avec mains".

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

    Paul de Roux. Ingres. Paris, 1996, pp. 59–61, ill. (color, overall and details), remarks on the painter's concern to accurately render the details of Mme Leblanc's dress and accessories; notes that the black gauze of the sleeve seems disproportionate and static.

    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. 21 (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, 304, 307, 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, fig. 352 (color detail).

    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. 184–85, 187, 224, 359 n. 22, colorpl. 133.

    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. 21, 234–35, 244, 256–58, 260–61, 406, 504, 517 n. 46, pp. 519–20 n. 123, pp. 548, 550, 554, no. 88, fig. 134 (color) and colorpl. 88, remarks that the shawl is embroidered with the letter E for Grand Duchess Élisa Bacchiochi, for whom Mme Leblanc was lady-in-waiting; notes that there are fifteen sketches for this painting, some of which reveal that the first idea was to paint Mme Leblanc seated with her daughter Isaure; cites Lenormant who wrote that Ingres had planned to exhibit a "Portrait of 1823" in the Salon of 1833, but it could not have been delivered on time, probably this portrait of Mme Leblanc, which would be exhibited the following year.

    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. 56, ill. p. 198 (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, 220–21, no. 2, ill. (color and black and white).

    Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 10–11, 262–63, no. 8, 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

    Madame Leblanc (née Françoise Poncelle, 1788–1839) was married to Jacques-Louis Leblanc in Florence in 1811. She was born into a comfortable French family in Cambrai and at the time of her marriage was living in the Palazzo Pitti as lady-in-waiting to Napoleon's sister Elisa Bacciochi, Grand Duchess of Tuscany.

    Studies for this picture are preserved in the Musée Ingres, Montauban [see Vigne, "Dessins d'Ingres: Catalogue raisonné des dessins du musée de Montauban," 1995, nos. 2694–2712].

    Étienne Achille Réveil engraved this portrait for his "Oeuvres de J. A. Ingres. . .gravées au trait sur acier," Paris, 1851, pl. 42.

    This portrait is the companion to MMA 19.77.1.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History