Pierre-Louis Pierson (French, 1822–1913)
Albumen silver print painted in gouache
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005 (2005.100.395)
The countess appeared on stage only once, in a tableau vivant at a charity gala at the residence of the baroness de Meyendorff on April 16, 1863. Beforehand, rumors were rampant that she would appear as Ingres' Source nude. In fact, she confounded the audience's expectations by appearing dressed as a Carmelite nun in front of a grotto while a violinist played Chopin's funeral march. Whistles and murmurs of disapproval burst forth. Enraged, the Countess fled, ripping off her robe and shouting "They are unbearable!" as she disappeared into a waiting coach. She later authorized the sale of the photograph for charity.