Odalisque in Grisaille, ca. 1824–34
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, 1780–1867) and Workshop
Oil on canvas; 32 3/4 x 43 in. (83.2 x 109.2 cm)
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1938 (38.65)
Ingres included this picture—an unfinished repetition of the celebrated Grande Odalisque of 1814 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)—in a list of works that he painted between his return to Paris from Italy in 1824 and his departure for the French Academy in Rome in 1834. After 1824, Ingres invited his students to assist him with all large paintings, and that is probably true of this canvas as well.
When the Grande Odalisque was exhibited at the 1819 Paris Salon, critics considered the anatomical distortions both extravagant and odd and the Turkish accessories out of fashion. The painting did not receive the admiration it deserved until it was reexhibited in 1846 and 1855. By then, writers such as Baudelaire recognized that the bizarre was an essential component of Ingres's aesthetic: "The beautiful is always bizarre."